Rez Rules: My Indictment of Canada’s and America’s Systemic Racism Against Indigenous Peoples

Thank you for joining us virtually on Wednesday, March 13th, 2024 from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm (PST), for “Rez Rules: My Indictment of Canada’s and America’s Systemic Racism Against Indigenous Peoples.” In this Indigenous Speakers Series session, we had a conversation with Chief Clarence Louie, Osoyoos Indian Band and author of REZ RULES:  My Indictment of Canada’s and America’s Systemic Racism Against Indigenous Peoples. We explored strategies for achieving both individual and shared independence and understand why we need each other in creating a better life for Indigenous peoples.

Rez Rules: My Indictment of Canada’s and America’s Systemic Racism Against Indigenous Peoples

Join us virtually on Wednesday, March 13th, 2024 from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm (PST), for “Rez Rules: My Indictment of Canada’s and America’s Systemic Racism Against Indigenous Peoples.” This virtual event is presented by the Indigenous Speakers Series

Speaker Bio

Chief Clarence Louie, O.C., O.B.C., H/Lt.Col. (39 SR CAF), H/Ph.D. (Queen’s University & UBC), C.B.H.F, BC B.H.F, A.B.H.F, N.A.A.A.
Osoyoos Indian Band
Chair, Okanagan Nation Alliance

Author – Rez Rules:  My Indictment of Canada’s and America’s Systemic Racism Against Indigenous Peoples

Graduated from high school 1978. Attended the University of Regina, (Saskatchewan Indian Federated College) Native American Studies Program. Continued Native American Studies at the University of Lethbridge, from 1979 to 1982.

Since December 1984 when first elected as Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band, part of the Okanagan Nation in south central British Columbia, Clarence Joseph Louie has consistently emphasized economic development as a means to improve his people’s standard of living. Under his direction (30+ years), the Band has become a multi- faceted corporation that owns and manages eleven businesses, 5 joint ventures and employs a thousand people. In 1998 the Osoyoos Indian Band Development Corporation was formed to manage and provide strategic direction to the existing businesses and as well as seek out new economic opportunities. Clarence was appointed C.E.O.

Other achievements under Chief Louie’s tenure include the negotiated settlement of three Specific Land Claims, the successful negotiation of over 1,000 acres of lease developments, the acquisition of hundreds of acres of land to add to the reserve, the purchase of a viable off-reserve business, the financing of a major golf course development, the initiation of the Osoyoos Indian Taxation By-law, the financing and building of a new pre- school/daycare and grade school/gymnasium, construction of a new Health Center/Social Services building and in 2008 the building of a 1st class Youth Centre.

The Osoyoos Indian Band has modeled not only sustainable business development, but also socio-economic development, whereby the community’s social needs are improved. Chief Louie’s constant message is, “Socio- economic development is the foundation for First Nation self-reliance, our communities need to become business minded and begin to create their own jobs and revenue sources, not just administer underfunded government programs. Each of our First Nations must take back their inherent and rightful place in the economy of their territory. Native people must change their mindset from; Spending Money To Making Money”.

As confirmation of the Osoyoos Indian Band’s commitment to business, and social economic development the Band owns and operates a diversity of businesses on the reserve, including: vineyards, retail stores, a Readi-Mix company, a championship golf course, eco-tourism businesses and activities in the Forestry. In 2002 the Band opened the first Aboriginal winery in North America-Nk’Mip Cellars. The winery is a joint venture with Arterra Canada.

Although economic development is the means to achieving self-sufficiency, Chief and Council continues to emphasize the importance of maintaining the Okanagan language and culture in all aspects of the band’s activities including business. The establishment of the Nk’Mip Desert& Cultural Center is a testament to this commitment of balancing business while investing time and money in culture. This eco-cultural center provides visitors an opportunity to experience the Okanagan culture and explore the desert lands that are a part of their traditional territory. The Nk’Mip Desert & Cultural Center is also an example of the continued growth of the band’s businesses.

Chief Louie believes that job creation and increasing business revenue in a responsible manner will bring back what he describes as, “our First Nation working culture, the self-supporting lifestyle of our ancestors.” And further, First Nation leaders have a responsibility to incorporate First Nation’s language and culture in all socio- economic initiatives as the means to improve and protect your First Nation’s heritage. In 2002, Chief Louie played a key role in the successful negotiations to return a sacred cultural site, “Spotted Lake,” to the Okanagan Nation. Chief Louie’s efforts have been widely recognized in Canada and the United states.

  • In 1999, he received the Aboriginal Business Leader Award from All Nations Trust and Development Corporation.
  • In 2000, the Advancement of Native Development officers (CANDO) named Chief Louie the “Economic Developer of the Year”
  • In the same year Clarence was chosen to join the Governor General of Canada in the 2000 leadership tour.
  • In 2001 Chief Louie was appointed to the Aboriginal Business Canada Board and in 2007 was appointed asChair of the Board.
  • In 2002- Aboriginal Tourism B.C. awarded Chief Louie the “Inspirational Leadership Award.”
  • Maclean’s Magazine listed Chief Clarence Louie as one of the “Top 50 Canadians to Watch” in their January 2003 issue.
  • More recognition came in 2003 as the U.S. Department of State selected Clarence as 1 of 6 First Nation representatives to participate in a 2-week tour of successful American Indian Tribes.
  • In April 2004 the Aboriginal Achievement Foundation presented Clarence with the award for “Business and Community Development.” The National Achievement Awards represent the highest honor the Aboriginal Community bestows upon its own achievers.
  • Past committee member B.C. Region Indian Affairs (Forestry and Economic Development)
  • First Nation Boards – Denendeh Investments (Yellowknife – 2007), Stsailes Dev. Corp. (Chilliwack – 2009)
  • 2006 – Order of British Columbia
  • 2008 – Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
  • 2011 – Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business – Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame
  • 2015 – Destination B.C. Board of Directors
  • 2015 – B.C. Provincial Health Services Authority Board of Directors
  • 2016 – Order of Canada
  • 2018 – Canadian Business Hall of Fame
  • 2019 – B.C. Business Hall of Fame
  • 2019 – Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (Federal Board)
  • 2020 – Okanagan Nation Alliance Tribal Chair
  • 2021 – B.C. Hydro Board
  • 2021 – Honorary Doctorate Degree, University of B.C.
  • 2021 – Book Author “Rez Rules”
  • 2022 – Honorary Doctorate Degree, Queens University (Kingston Ontario)
  • 2023 – Honorary Lieutenant Colonel, 39 Signal Regiment Canadian Armed Forces

A lifelong student of “Native American Studies”, Clarence shares his experiences (Key Note Speaking) and best lessons learned to Native people, Government and Corporate agencies across the U.S and Canada as well as overseas – Australia, New Zealand, Germany and France, in a simple direct business smarts approach, “Every First Nation comes from a working culture. Our ancestors worked hard for a living. Today life is as complicated or messed up as you make it. To improve your quality of life, you either go to school or get a job. Words without action, excuses and blame, leads towards more welfare dependency and poverty. It’s hard work and making money that improves one’s standard of living and provides for First Nation social needs.”Chief Louie believes that “Aboriginal people and government must make Economic Development – self-sustaining job creation and business growth an everyday priority. A real decent paying job that provides real opportunity is the very best social program on any Rez!”
The Osoyoos Indian Band’s corporate motto is “In Business To Preserve Our Past By Strengthening Our Future.”


Derek Thompson

Derek K Thompson – Thlaapkiituup, Director, Indigenous Engagement


Written by Derek K Thompson – Thlaapkiituup

I have consistently stated that Indigenous peoples are likely the only segment of Canadian society that is simultaneously coming to terms with the historic past and trying to build a way forward. Many Indigenous peoples grapple with a balance of tensions between identity and language as well as career and prosperity, and many still are disadvantaged with a lack of resources and capacity to improve their lives. We live in an interesting time of telling our many truths, reconciling for a better future, and creating a just redress all in an effort to create a better life for ourselves, for our children and for our grandchildren. We can create a way forward, a plan for today and tomorrow, and a rulebook that outlines a path to a better and successful life.

Chief Clarence Louie offers a path forward in his remarkable book, REZ RULES:  My Indictment of Canada’s and America’s Systemic Racism Against Indigenous Peoples. Chief Louie offers a thoughtful, honest, direct, and doable way to achieve individual and shared independence. He also offers a personal and intimate telling of his life in politics, and an authentic leadership that is indicative of including those that continue to support him. There’s a message that becomes abundantly clear in his rulebook, and that is, we need each other to create a better life for our people.

Indigenous peoples also need truth, reconciliation and redress to work, and this means that non-Indigenous Canadians need to be a part of the solution, a part of the rulebook, and a part of the processes to bring about transformative change in this country that has created an abundance of wealth, prosperity and independence. Please join me for this important, timely and relevant conversation with Chief Clarence Louie.

Topic: REZ RULES:  My Indictment of Canada’s and America’s Systemic Racism Against Indigenous Peoples

Date: Wednesday, March 13th, 2024

Time: 12:00 – 1:30 pm (PST)

What Will I Learn?

You will learn about a unique perspective from a BC First Nations Chief of what it means to come to terms with each other in the context of truth, reconciliation and redress.

Continue Learning

“The time to make things happen is now. The time to seek out our individual and shared power is now.”

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