Modern day hunters look to seize 2010 opportunities
Published Wednesday, January 20, 2010 8:30PM PST
Standing in the kitchen of a new $950,000 home off the Dollarton Highway, Justin Sky George looks more like a realtor than the chief of a prosperous First Nation.
But George, the new chief of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation in North Vancouver and grandson of movie star Chief Dan George, has helped spearhead the 1,200 unit development for the small band with big ambitions.
"It's very important for us to look seven generations down," George said.
The development has been hugely successful, pouring millions of dollars back into the community for social and education programs. Now they're hoping the Olympics will open up many more business opportunities.
"We're looking at manufacturing, technology, wind power. We're very open and throughout the Olympics, there's going to be investors from around the world and we're excited about that," George said.
As one of the four First Nations hosting the Games, the band has received $17 million to create its own Olympic legacy.
Some of that may go to expanding eco-tourism businesses in the park it co-manages in Indian Arm, as well as land acquisition and expansions.
Some of the money will also go to education and cultural programs to provide for community members who have lost their way.
Dayle George was one of those young people. Only 20-years-old, her life unraveled in high school.
"[I] started experiencing with different drugs and drinking a lot more and doing what I could to get my fix," George told CTV News. "And getting into trouble with the law too."
Now clean, George is proud to say she will be an Olympic torch bearer.
"I love it! I'm really nervous, I'm excited," she said.
"I know if I was still in my addiction, something like this wouldn't come my way."
George will run through Cates Park Feb. 10. The park will be alive with traditional song and dance celebrations to welcome her.
"I'm feeling pretty confident," she said.
And she's not alone. The band is also excited to embrace its past and seize its future.
"We're very pro-active, a modern day hunter. We have open arms to new partners," George said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Mi-Jung Lee