Lower Kootenay Band Chief Jason Louie was one of eighteen people from throughout B.C. who was awarded the Province’s Medal of Good Citizenship for their outstanding service and commitment to helping others in their communities.
“Congratulations to Chief Jason Louie for being named a recipient of the Province’s Medal of Good Citizenship,” said MLA Michelle Mingall in a Facebook post on Dec. 11. “It was an honour to be able to attend last Thursday’s ceremony where your many achievements and contributions were recognized.”
Chief Jason Louie was first elected as Chief of the Lower Kootenay Band in 2010. Currently serving his third term as leader of the Ktunaxa people, he is known as a strong leader dedicated to building an economy where his people are self-sufficient while retaining harmony with Ktunaxa traditions and values.
Born in Creston, Louie has worked collaboratively to build positive relationships with neighbouring communities and the Regional District of Central Kootenay. Through his commitment and persistence, Louie has developed a friendship between the Ktunaxa people and their neighbours.
Louie’s welcoming policy invites select individuals to share in the experiences and culture of the Lower Kootenay Band to participate alongside him, his family and the Ktunaxa people–in even the most sacred ceremonies.
For over 30 years, Louie has been involved with the Lower Kootenay Band Annual Pow Wow, one of the few remaining Pow Wows in North America. He also organizes and participates in many Ktunaxa youth initiatives and is passionate about preserving the Ktunaxa language.
Louie is well respected for his openness about his personal struggle with PTSD and depression and is a tireless advocate for mental health awareness. He regularly leads traditional ceremonies for First Nation people living with mental illness and addictions.
Louie is known for his open and respectful dialogue between the Lower Kootenay Band, the Town of Creston, the Regional District of Central Kootenay, the RCMP, Canadian and US Border Services and a wide variety of volunteer groups and community service organizations in the Creston Valley.
Louie served his country in the Canadian Armed Forces, Army Reserve, from 2004–2012. In honour of his many contributions and achievements, Louie received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and in 2013 was a recipient of a British Columbia Community Achievement Award.
Under Louie’s leadership, the Lower Kootenay Band has made some important acquisitions. In 2015, the Band acquired Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort, bringing traditional lands back into the community and providing local jobs. Through an Incremental Treaty Agreement, the Band has also acquired 475 acres of lakefront property on Kootenay Lake.
Other positive developments under Louie’s leadership include a $1.5 million water system for the Band; construction of a $1.5 million addition to the Yaqan Nukiy school, over $300,000 in renovations to Lower Kootenay Band housing units, construction of a traditional Round House in the Ktunaxa community and a farming program to raise and produce beef for community food stores.
Louie has also been a driving force in the development of a health facilities building and an alcohol and drug treatment centre to serve the Lower Kootenay Band.
Above all, Chief Louie is passionate about creating a future in which the Lower Kootenay Band become equal citizens, in a province and country that includes and recognizes First Nations Peoples as autonomous neighbours, within the traditional lands that we all call home.
Launched in 2015, the Medal of Good Citizenship recognizes individuals who, through exceptional long-term service, have made outstanding contributions to their communities without expectation of remuneration or reward. The medal reflects their generosity, service, acts of selflessness and contributions to community life. Recipients were nominated by members of their communities. Creston Mayor Ron Toyota nominated Louie for the award.
Louie attended the ceremony in Vancouver with his family. Mayor Ron Toyota and Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall were also in attendance.
“Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the Good Citizenship Medal. Your outstanding contributions to the well-being of your communities inspire us all,” said Premier John Horgan. “The generous gifts of your time and support make a difference in people’s lives and help build a stronger province for everyone.”
“The medal recognizes people who selflessly donate their time and talents to making life better for people in their communities,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and chair of the medal’s selection committee. “I am truly honoured to congratulate them and say thank you for your dedication and hard work on behalf of all British Columbians.”
The Medal of Good Citizenship recipients come from every corner of the province and represent many communities, large and small.
This year’s recipients are:
- Joe Average of Vancouver
- Charlotte Brady and Anastasia Castro of Victoria
- John Cameron of Richmond
- Neil Cook of Cranbrook
- Bruce Curtis of Courtenay
- Shirley Gratton of Prince George
- Jack Hutton of Duncan
- Chief M. Jason Louie of Creston
- Adrienne Montani of Vancouver
- Dr. Peter Newbery of New Hazelton
- Joseph Roberts of Langley
- Patricia Roy of Victoria
- Patricia Shields of Vancouver
- Tom Smithwick of Kelowna
- Louis Thomas of Salmon Arm
- Vivian Tsang of Vancouver
- Michelle Renee Wilson of Delta
This year’s recipients were selected from more than 100 nominees.