First Nations people were Canada’s first business owners and operators and having First Nation leaders continue forging productive business relationships with non-native Canadians must continue and grow, said Louie, who was feted Wednesday by local community and business leaders and members of the OIB for being appointed to the Order of Canada, this country’s highest civilian award.

Half of Canada’s current First Nations have unemployment in or around 80 per cent, which is unacceptable as Canada prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2017, said Louie.