Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A chief for the 21st century

[Thanks to Wayne and Anita in Alliston, Ontario, for pointing me to this story.]
Source: CBC
Prime Minister Stephen Harper ought to appoint Clarence Louie as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

For more than 20 years, Clarence has been chief and CEO of the Osoyoos Band in British Columbia's South Okanagan.
"My first rule for success is show up on time.
My No. 2 rule for success is follow rule No. 1."

"If your life sucks, it's because you suck."

"Quit your sniffling. Join the real world. Go to school, or get a job. Get off of welfare. Get off your butt."

"Our ancestors worked for a living. So should you."
This is Clarence speaking to First Nations audiences. Have you ever heard a native leader speaking like this?

The band was bankrupt, taken over by Indian Affairs. They set a goal to become self-sufficient in five years.

The Osoyoos now own, among other things, a vineyard, a winery, a golf course, a tourist resort, and a chunk of the Baldy Mountain ski development.

There are jobs for everyone, and members of 13 other tribal communities have come there to work for the Osoyoos, who contribute $40-million a year to the area economy. View the whole story in this CBC documentary.

Clarence travels widely, as far away as Australia, spreading his philosophy that creating sustainable businesses leads to jobs, money, a better way of life, and respect for native peoples.

Some say he's ignoring tradition. His response is, "You're going to lose your language and culture faster in poverty than you will in economic development."

His approach integrates native people into the mainstream of Canadian life by helping them become self-supporting members of society rather than wards of the state. It is a path to achieving the human dignity to which they are entitled.

Of course, it won't work everywhere. The Osoyoos are favoured by geography and climate, plus they have Clarence.

But the ideas that underpin their success will work in many places if the will and the leadership can be found.

1 comment:

  1. Success involves the same factors for everyone but is rarely quick or easy for anyone too.