Tsleil-Waututh Leader and Indspire-ation!
Leonard George was praised as an economic development visionary when the 2016 Indspire award winners were announced in Toronto in mid-September and a former Sentinel journalist was on the scene. In 1989, the unemployment rate on the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation’s reserve in North Vancouver hovered between 60 and 80 per cent. Today, it’s less than three per cent – a change that can be traced back to the work of Leonard George. That’s just one of the reasons why George has been honoured with an Indspire award for public service. Indspire CEO Roberta Jamieson announced the 14 award winners and said George: “has illuminated the future for indigenous peoples in his community and across the country. He’s done it all.” The room of indigenous trailblazers from across Canada heard that George has been a visionary in making positive changes in his community. He was chief of the Tsleil-Waututh for 12 years before becoming the band’s director of economic development and chief negotiator.
He was responsible for economic agreements that led to the 800-unit condo development Raven Woods, and was in charge of negotiations around wind turbines, construction, forestry and cultural tourism. Leonard George is also an actor, having appeared in Smoke Signals, Skins and Americathon and is a respected spiritual leader around the Salish Sea and beyond. George said it is a time of change for First Nations people and that awards are important to recognize positive work. TSLEIL-WAUTUTH LEADER AN INDSPIRE-ATION “I’m so proud to have lived in a time where there has been so much wonderful change for First Nations people,” he said. “I would say it’s better to find solutions than to worry about the negative issues.” George also acknowledged his wife who has stood with him and supported his work for 35 years. “I couldn’t have done anything I’ve done without her,” he said.
Leonard will accept his award on Feb 12 at the Indspire awards gala in Vancouver.
For more information: Indspire Announces 2016 Indspire Awards Recipients