Lyle Leos contribution to the Mount Currie community has been recognized by a national First Nations organization. The lead negotiator for Lilwat Nation Economic Development has been nominated by the Council for Advancement of Native Development Officers for its Economic Developer of the Year award.
Leo, who has a background in forestry, returned to Mount Currie 15 years ago. Since that time he has been instrumental in laying the foundation for the band to increase its wealth via non-treaty means.
"He looked at ways to mimic how wealth was generated off the reserve," explained Sheldon Tetreault, senior administrator for the Mount Currie Band council. "And that was by leveraging the business community."
Leo was responsible for the setting up Creekside Resources, the corporate arm of the Lilwat Nation.
"He figured out how to make the case for aboriginal (land) title, he started our archeological studies. When Lyle came back to the community, it was at the time of the Ure Creek blockades. He looked at what was happening and asked, What are we achieving with the blockades." said Tetreault. "Although he has struggled in leading he has continuously been able to move forward."
The band administrator credits Leo with Mount Curries involvement with the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Tetreault summarized Leos character with these words: "He has foresight and intelligence and he goes hard at it."
Leo is one of two nominees up for the award that will be presented during the 12 th annual CANDO conference and AGM in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. From Oct. 17 to 20. The delegation will vote for the winner based on a 30-minute presentation outlining economic development projects by each nominee.