Excavations in Osoyoos demonstrate that the Okanagan Indians were in the region for many centuries. The ancient people depended absolutely on nature for their livelihood, storing supplies for winter, and half of the Nk'Mip diet was derived from plants. Of the more than 260 plants known to the Okanagan people, at least 130 were used for food and medicinal purposes. They were survivalists, manufacturing their own medicine from roots, herbs and balsam wood.
The Okanagan Indians believe in the Great Spirit and, according to tradition, were rulers of the Valley. Their territory extended from Vernon to Tonasket (Washington) and from Rock Creek to Princeton.
Chief Clarence Louie was first elected band chief in 1985 after completing Native American Studies programs at the Universities of Regina and Lethbridge. Since then he has been dedicated to creating self-reliance for the Band through establishing strong, diversified economic development while preserving traditions and building on lessons of the past. He has accomplished this by forming an Osoyoos Indian Band Development Corporation, which he currently heads, as well as being actively involved in many boards such as the Aboriginal Business Canada Board. He also chairs the Osoyoos Indian Band's Housing Committee, Band Board of Education and 7th Generation Trust.
Chief Clarence has made significant achievements during his appointment as Chief and received many business awards as a result. Most notably in 1999 he was awarded the Aboriginal Business Leader of the Year - All Nations Development Corporation and in 2000 the CANDO Award for Economic Developer of the Year Award.
Chief Clarence feels that leadership requires courage, vision, balance and drive and that to be an effective leader these qualities must be present and able to be drawn upon when the "going gets tough". He understands that "in order for you to attract and develop business opportunities, you must first develop a climate that's organized and secure" and has worked relentlessly to this end.