College of the Rockies is welcoming Chief Jason Louie of the Lower Kootenay First Nation to participate in the Indigenous Speaker series.

College kicks off Indigenous Speaker series

College of the Rockies will host Chief Jason Louie from the Lower Kootenay First Nation on Nov. 19.

College of the Rockies will host Chief Jason Louie from the Lower Kootenay First Nation on Nov. 19.  Chief Louie will be delivering a presentation about the connections between culture, politics and education.

The event will be open to the public and will take place in the Aboriginal Gathering Place, located at the Cranbrook main campus. The speaker presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the event wrapping up around 8 p.m.

Chief Louie graduated from the Lower Kootenay Band operated school in 1992.  He went on to receive training as a Long Term Care Aide as well as in Aboriginal Governance and Management.  He earned a diploma in Native Adult Education and dedicated several years to the Canadian Forces.

In 2012, Chief Louie was the recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, an honour presented to acknowledge significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.  Prior to initially being elected Chief in 2010, Louie served as a Council member for several years.  His second term as Chief began in January 2015.

“We are committed to building relationships with our Indigenous community partners and helping to adhere to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report,” said Andrew Judge, Coordinator and Educator of Aboriginal Education at College of the Rockies. “My hopes, in organizing this speakers series, is that everyone in the local region will come together to recognize and appreciate the value of Indigenous knowledge.”

The Culture, Politics and Education presentation is the first for the College of the Rockies’ new Indigenous Speakers Series. Judge said the series hopes to include more Indigenous groups.

“In addition to the Ktunaxa, we are working with our Métis and Shuswap partners to organize representatives of each community to share. Our aim is to have representation of each Indigenous community share insights into their understanding of the world with the broader community so that any barriers between groups can be softened,” said Judge. “Participants of the series can expect a robust offering of unique Indigenous perspectives that will reduce any fear or anxiety they might have regarding Indigenous people.”

Judge said the series is important as it will help with reconciliation and start communications.

“An Indigneous speakers series is important because, as a result of the recent publication of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, it is clear that as members of this society, there is a need to reconcile our collective past. I find that a lot of people are afraid or anxious about Indigenous knowledge and whenever I share I try to encourage others to learn as much as they can about the Indigenous people whose territory they live within. I did not grow up with Indigenous knowledge and there came a point where I had to take that first step myself. Now after nearly a decade on this journey I have come to realize that Indigenous people have a lot to offer everyone and every little bit of knowledge we can gain from indigenous people is a gift.”