Robert Louie

Robert Louie

Robert Louie, former Westbank First Nation chief and now owner of Indigenous World Winery and Distillery, has won an Aboriginal Business Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

The CCAB’s Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a First Nations, Inuit, or Métis person whose business leadership has made a substantive contribution to the economic and social well-being of Indigenous people.

“Robert Louie exemplifies the entrepreneurial and leadership characteristics at the heart of this award,” said CCAB President and CEO, Tabatha Bull. “His entrepreneurial spirit, work leading the Westbank First Nation as Chief, and advocacy for legislative change to effect economic growth through Indigenous land, have earned him a reputation as a role model, mentor, and deserving lifetime achievement recipient.”

Louie, a lawyer, was chief for 24 years, leading the band to self-government status. Since self-government was achieved in 2005, economic growth of Westbank reserve lands increased from 110 businesses on reserve to over 500 today and nearly $700 million in revenue, the council noted in a news release.

Louie has been a chairman, director or board member on over 30 corporate entities during his career. He sits on six corporate boards and owns other businesses.

“I am honoured, grateful and appreciative to receive the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Louie in a statement. “To serve, work with and support Indigenous people in economic and business ventures makes me so proud to be Indigenous. I salute all Indigenous peoples in business.”

The award will be presented on Feb. 24.