President Jim Madder welcomed 41 plus attendees to today's meeting on Robbie Burns Day.

Guests today included:  Kay Biga (DG Elect 5580), Robert McLean (5580 Past DG), Ida Rowe, Dan Brown (ADG 5580 from Nipigon), Don MacDonald (President Lakehead Rotary Club), and from Thunder Bay news media Cory N of TBT News and James Murray News Net.

O Canada was played by Matt Villella; Jim Madder made the Land Acknowledgement.

FEATURE PRESENTATION: Chief Clarence Louie

Chief Clarence Louie, CM and OBC, distinguished Chief for 24 years of the Osoyoos Indian Band in British Columbia, was our dynamic speaker today from his office in B.C.

 

Chief Louie is recognized internationally for his exemplary leadership within his community including very successful economic and business development therein. He is a tireless advocate for Indigenous reconciliation as tied to positive relationships with the many layers of government and non government organizations.


 
He was introduced and thanked, with great respect, by PA Rotarian and President-elect Brian Walmark.

Chief Louie was exceptionally candid in his remarks about the past and current state of First Nation-Non Indigenous relations. His no-holds-barred accounting was appreciated by his audience.  He praised Rotary ideals from first hand experience: his local Rotary Club and the 4 Way Test on a plaque at the well-travelled US-Canada border have influenced him.

As the first Indigenous person admitted to the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, his knowledge of the successful modelling of trade as the "heartbeat" of economies in the past is still relevant today. Business and strong employment in his community is non pareil in Canada.

His new book REZ RULES has gained acclaim in this regard. The symbolism of the beaver pelt and its link to the fur trade has not gone unnoticed. 

His views on topics like reconciliation and land acknowledgements are sobering. As one example, there is little to crow about with the out of touch anachronistic handout of 5 dollar bills at "Treaty Days."  And, he feels political "correctness" is often deleterious to progress.

But he does see hope:  the Orange Shirt turnout of support on the trek to Kamloops was one potent example.

There was a brief Q and A session, limited unfortunately by time  (a breakout session was offered with thanks to Matt Villella).

Chief Louie's powerful address was a big highlight for us all: there was much to ponder, especially in looking ahead by the club to positive action.

Brian Walmark expressed hope he would return to speak to us, most certainly welcomed.

This presentation was recorded by local news media.

BUSINESS UPDATES

Dew Drop Inn this Thursday, January 28th; Rotary Radio Day campaign (a final push is very important); Art Warwick reported on both the Rotary Bolivia Project in San Rafael, supported in part by PA Rotary, and the successful 4 Way Essay Contest winners; and Happy Dollars – send in at members' discretion.

NB: See President Madder's extensive pre-meeting communique for details and links for many Rotary activities.