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Osoyoos Chief to be inducted into Canadian business hall of fame

This year's inductees into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame include (from left to right): Claude Lamoureux O.C., FCIA, Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Chief Clarence Louie O.C., Annette Verschuren O.C. and Stephen J. R. Smith.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Tom Sandler (CNW Group/JA Canada)
January 16, 2019 - 2:00 PM

PENTICTON - Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Clarence Louie continues to attract the attention of the business world.

Louie is one of the most recent Canadian business people to be recognized by the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, making the list of inductees for 2019.

“What’s cool is this award marks the first time an Aboriginal has been inducted into the business hall of fame. It’s also different because I’m not a Jimmy Pattison-type, I don’t own any business, unlike other inductees. I work for the Indian Band, so the way I look at it, it’s an Osoyoos Indian Band award,” Louie said in a telephone interview today, Jan. 16.

Louie says the award is recognition for what the band has accomplished over the last two decades.

“First Nations need to engage corporate Canada. The economy is always on the forefront of advanced nations, unlike third world countries,” he said.

Louie said historically speaking, Canada’s First Nations were the first business people of the land, something borne by archeological research where ancestral digs around Osoyoos have proven tribes traded near and far centuries ago.

“We need to get back to the original business relationship native established with the fur trade,” he said.

Moving forward, Louie said there “is no finish line in business,” as economic cycles result in different businesses being affected by market swings at various times. He hopes to continue growing business for the Osoyoos Indian Band, create more jobs and bring more money to the region.

He sees his role as chief to be that of an elected council member working with other people to convince band members to support each business initiative.

“It’s always a team effort, even with the consultants we use. I’m not an independent entrepreneur like most of the inductees,” he said.

Louie is looking forward to the inductee night this summer saying it will be “neat” to meet some of Canada’s top business people.

“It’s the who’s who of business which is awesome. I love hanging around business people because that’s where the action is. That’s where the money comes from,” he says, adding he hopes to bring some of the band’s youth and elders.

“This isn’t just my award. My name goes on it, but if it wasn’t for what the Osoyoos Band has done and continues to do I wouldn’t even be thought about,” he says.

In a media release, chancellor for the order of business hall of fame David Denison called the 2019 class of companion inductees “a very special group,” noting their “enduring contributions to the business community and our country.”

This year’s inductees will be formally inducted at gala dinner and induction ceremony being held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on June 19.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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