As many as 200 members of the Ktunaxa Nation gathered in Lower Kootenay last week for the nation’s annual general assembly, where Creston Mayor Ron Toyota was presented with the Friends of the Ktunaxa Award.
“The Friends of the Ktunaxa Award was established in 2008 by the Ktunaxa Nation,” Lower Kootenay Band Chief Jason Louie said on Friday. “It is an award presented to individuals who demonstrate meaningful acts of kindness and friendship to the Ktunaxa Nation.
“Mayor Toyota was this year’s recipient as he has been a friend of the Ktunaxa on many different levels, supporting the Lower Kootenay Band with our various initiatives. We look forward to working together with his worship and the Town of Creston for years to come.”
Four years ago, RCMP Const. Dan Cameron was the award recipient at the last assembly held in Creston.
“I am truly honoured,” Toyota said. “I admire the efforts Chief Louie has made to bring our communities together, and gratified to see many of his visions for Lower Kootenay coming to pass. Economic development, such as the LKB acquisition of Ainsworth Hot Springs, and cultural initiatives like the school expansion and construction of the Roundhouse are great signs of progress.”
Special guests at the AGA included Chief Ernie Crey of Cheam First Nation and Shane Gottfriedson, Assembly of First Nations BC Regional chief. Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski attended Wednesday’s sessions, as did Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall. Mungall attended with NDP MLA Melanie Mark, who represents Vancouver-Mount Pleasant. Mark is B.C.’s first First Nations woman to be elected to the provincial legislature.