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Chief Underwood getting up to speed in second go-around as T’Sou-ke Nation Chief

Focus on preserving culture with youth

Larry Underwood is taking a methodical, measured approach to his role as chief of the T’Sou-ke Nation.

“The first year or two is dedicated to getting up to speed on everything that’s going on and what the previous council did,” said Underwood, who was officially sworn in on March 21.

He said he’s already been approached with a number of ideas and initiatives since the election that will require at least one year or more to gather all of the information before any major decisions are made.

One such initiative involves a partnership with Synergraze to produce seaweed to be used as an additive to cattle feed as a way to reduce methane emissions that’s come under scrutiny from some environmentalists

“That was started by the previous council,” Underwood said. “There’s ongoing discussions and I’m still getting up to speed on that.”

Underwood was previously chief from 1987 to 1991, and has been a member of council on and off since 1980. He has worked as the T’Sou-ke Nation’s forestry and environmental leader for the past 13 years.

He ran on a platform that stressed his commitment to preserving the nation’s heritage, making well-informed that reflect the collective will of the community, and empowering future generations.

“My leadership is grounded in the principles of transparency, honesty, integrity, openness, pride, and fairness,” he said. “I have consistently demonstrated these values in my actions and decisions in my previous roles as elected leadership and in everyday roles.”

Underwood described his grandparents, former T’sou-ke Nation Chief Ed George, his grandmother, Sarah George, and his mother, Jean George, as major influences that stressed the importance of preserving culture, and helped prepare him for the challenge of leadership.

“I really want to get back to teaching people the traditional ways to smoke fish,” he said. “Getting back to our roots is important, and passing that along to the younger generations is central to preserving our culture. Grooming our youth to be future leaders is crucial. I will bring back activities that promote togetherness, creating opportunities for shared experiences and learning.”

Underwood also acknowledged the need for better communications. T’Sou-ke Nations recently hired a communications manager to enhance and strengthen existing channels of communication to ensure that information is easily accessible and reaches every member of the community. He underlined the importance of making meeting schedules easily available to enco¨rage more people to engage in and contribute to thedecision-making process.

Although he describes himself as quiet by nature, Underwood said his ability to listen carefully to concerns, ideas, and dreams is one of his strengths.

“In any leadership role, there are benefits of a calm and composed decision-making approach, particularly in high pressure situations,” he noted.

ALSO READ: Larry Underwood sworn in as chief of T’Sou-ke Nation

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