Smoke Signals

Smoke Signals

On March 17 the OIB hosted a grand opening of the new Tim Hortons (and gas station) in Senkulmen Business Park north of Oliver. (Photo Vanessa Broadbent)

Column by Marvin Louie

Another year has come and gone and as you get older, time definitely does seem to go by faster. As the time goes by each year there are obviously ups and downs throughout the year, but I believe with most people that as you reflect back on the year, the good things usually outweigh the bad. 

I’m sure that everyone has their own unique way and pleasure in looking back on the year and reflecting on all that one has learned, collected and cherished. In that spirit I will reflect and share some thoughts about how the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) has flourished this past year and hopefully will continue that ‘train’ into the new year. 

First of all I would like to thank the Oliver Chronicle (Lyonel and the staff) for allowing me to write a column to be published in their paper once a month. It’s been a fun experience so far and I look forward to continue writing articles into the new year. I wasn’t sure at first about it but when the OIB chief and council encouraged me to do it (I think maybe it was because no one else wanted to do it) I thought what could possibly go wrong? I mean, no one has ever gotten in trouble by writing ‘bad articles’ in the newspaper before.

From my first article explaining the title “Smoke Signals” to future articles talking about new OIB businesses, community events and youth activities, it’s definitely been a fun rollercoaster ride that I hope continues for a while. As I mentioned early on the Osoyoos Indian Band is a progressive band that strives for economic self-reliance and self-discovery within its members. This ideology continued this past year with a new business opening up on reserve land which was a new Tim Hortons located at the intersection of Hwy 97 and Enterprise Way. With this new business came new job opportunities for OIB members; one of our OIB youth took advantage of this by being one of the first to apply for a job opening and is now currently a shift supervisor.  Our band is very fortunate (through hard work) to have many opportunities that other bands may not, so it’s great to see so many of our youth (and other members) take advantage of the opportunities presented to them. 

Through this past year the OIB had continuous events that flowed effortlessly through the changing seasons that included job fairs, golf tournaments, school and community celebrated events, and many special events that were organized by the youth. The OIB community is a tight-knit group that takes great pride in celebrating everyone’s achievements as well as welcoming visitors from the outside. 

The one group that I am particularly proud of is the OIB youth. Since I moved back to Canada from the United States in 2002, I have seen great achievements by this group. The OIB Youth Council (six members) was formed this past autumn and is driven to do great things for the community as well as for themselves.  Youth Council member Kali Baptiste said, “I am proud to be on the OIB Youth Council and we expect to pick up the momentum on what we started so far, which would include continuing generating revenue (to be put back into the community) and follow through with some business plans that were started last year.” 

So happy New Year everyone and eat lots of fry bread!