Former LLRIB chief receives honourary law degree
- EFN Staff | November 15, 2018
A northern entrepreneur from Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB) was awarded a University of Saskatchewan (U of S) honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
Former accomplished Chief Harry Cook is amongst another recipient to receive the highest honour the U of S can bestow to acknowledge worth and unique contributions that people have made in their communities.
“I was quite honoured I found out the news that I would be receiving this ,” said Cook.
On Saturday, October 27th Cook accepted this prestigious honour in front of hundreds of people and they heard the amazing work he has done throughout his lifetime.
Cook was born on his family trap line in 1943 in Stanley Mission in northern Saskatchewan. Following his education in residential schools, Cook became a journeyman welder and worked for Westank Willock in Regina for 13 years. He then progressed to shop steward and then shift foreman, supervising 80 employees.
Although he was successful in his path of work, Cook wanted to give back to his community of LLRIB. It was then that he decided to move back home and was elected as Chief in 1987. As his community’s leader, he advocated for his membership, and ensured the band’s directors operated their programs effectively and efficiently. During this time, the LLRIB became known for its economic development initiatives, which Cook lists as one of his proudest achievements.
The Kitsaki Management Limited Partnership (KMLP) performs the economic development activities of the LLRIB which includes transportation, road construction, insurance, environmental, hospitality, mining and agriculture. This business arm held 14 portfolios including hotel management, organic food processing, catering, insurance and a partnership with Northern Resource Trucking. KMLP was known internationally for exporting wild rice and mushrooms, and Cook travelled to world trade shows in Europe and Asia to help market their products.
“I wanted to make a living the way that I wanted for my family and I,” said Cook who has been married over 50 years. “I give a lot of pride in what I do with some of the things we accomplished as a band.”
Cook, who only has a grade 10 education, holds his language and cultural traditions close and encourages others to learn and speak their Indigenous language. He also expressed his pride in the upcoming graduates and hopes their education will take them far in life.
“The ones who will be graduating from the U of S a great gift in terms of getting an education for themselves, their families and society at large,” he said. “I believe we need a quality education in this world to survive. Through knowledge and education, a person can go a long way.”
Expert innovator and entrepreneur, Brad Wildeman, also received an honorary degree with Cook during the U of S Fall Convocation ceremonies.