To the Editor:
On Nov. 23, I walked, along with several others, with Chief Jason Louie from the Lower Kootenay Band administration building to the Creston Valley Hospital. I have, for a considerable period of time, been impressed with the inspired leadership Louie provides to the band. This walk was an example of this leadership.
The chief held a workshop in months past where the participants from the band were given the opportunity to learn how to construct a Kootenay canoe and to, in fact, build a canoe from scratch. The construction of this canoe is, as far as I understand, an important part of the cultural tradition of the band. I can only imagine how deeply inspired the class members were in participating in this historic process. I imagine they were considerably inspired. The result of their efforts was genuinely pleasing to the eye.
The canoe symbolized to me the reincarnation of the pride of place the band enjoyed in years long past. The canoe symbolized to me a continuation of healing in the band and a commitment to that process. Louie may have had a similar understanding to mine and much greater clarity regarding it. He asked the participants what they would do with their fine creation and it was decided that the canoe should be presented to the Creston Valley Hospital, an institution devoted to helping people recover their health. And, it was done with the intention that this canoe also symbolizes the partnership and friendship that is growing between the town of Creston and the band.
Louie is a decorated soldier who has just recently completed his time with the Canadian Armed Forces. He is a warrior. He walked with us in his Army uniform. He walked, in my estimation, with considerable pride and remarkable humility. He walked hand in hand with his wife, Angie. He walked with us to raise awareness of the horrible consequences of addictions on us all. He was joined on the walk by other leaders, among them Mayor Ron Toyota, Dr. Randy Grahn, the chief of staff of Creston Valley Hospital, and RCMP Staff Sgt. Bob Gollan. Louie’s idea was inspired and it elicited the enthusiastic support of these people and many others.
I am very impressed with the inspired leadership the Lower Kootenay Band is currently enjoying. It gives me considerable hope for the future.