David Jimmie: Role model

Chilliwack's David Jimmie, 34, as featured in The Chilliwack Progress Forty Under 40.

David Jimmie.

David Jimmie.

David Jimmie says he knew from a very early age that he wanted to do something for his community.

Now, as Chief of the Squiala First Nation, he’s helping guide the community in its transition from a small reserve on the outskirts of Chilliwack to a major player in the city’s economy.

“I knew at a young age that I would get involved in my community at some higher level,” he says.

“I don’t how to explain it, it’s just something you kind of know,” the quiet-spoken 34-year-old chief says. “It might have been from relationships within the community or it might have been the way I interacted with people, but I just sort of sensed I’d become involved.”

Jimmie says he was fortunate to be able to go to the University of the Fraser Valley, take on challenging work as a forest firefighter and as a teacher’s assistant, and then join a construction company developing properties on First Nations lands.

When the construction boom started to taper off in 2008, he says he decided it was a good time to follow a personal dream.

“I bought an around-the-world ticket and travelled to 17 countries in eight months,” he says.

That experience opened his eyes to the wider world, and gave him time to reflect on his own values and what is important to him.

“It was along that trip that I realized that I would come home and try to help in some way,” he says.

First, he was hired as the band’s lands manager, and in that position joined the Squiala negotiation team that hammered out an agreement with the Property Development Group that led to the multi-million dollar Eagle Landing shopping mall.

The 50/50 partnership kick-started the Squiala economy, created much-needed jobs in Chilliwack, and put the city front and centre on the retail map of the Fraser Valley.

But Jimmie felt his university education and construction experience gave him more to offer the band, so he ran for election as chief.

Now, he’s helping guide the band as it looks into a new corporate structure that will build on the success of Eagle Landing.

“We don’t want Eagle Landing to be it,” Jimmie says. “We want to always keep our eyes open if there’s opportunities somewhere else, investment-wise, or even in Chilliwack. There’s nothing stopping us from buying surrounding properties.”

Meanwhile, Eagle Landing also brought benefits to the larger Chilliwack community.

“Chilliwack is running out of space,” Jimmie says, and the development on Squiala land allowed new businesses to open here, keeping shoppers from spending their money elsewhere and creating much-needed jobs.

But Jimmie hopes his main accomplishment as chief will be as a role model for young Squiala band members.

“If I can do something like that, give the youth of the community something to see, that would be great,” he says.

 

Just Posted

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack woman’s 100-km birthday marathon to benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

RCMP investigating June 15, 2021 crash. (Black Press file)
Chilliwack RCMP say crash into median led to impaired driver investigation

Chrysler 300 driver allegedly collided with tree on Spadina median in June 15 incident

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Abbotsford council has given permission for Chilliwack to use the JAMES wastewater treatment plant for the disposal of trucked liquid waste until the end of September.
Chilliwack gets exemption to Abbotsford bylaw prohibiting liquid waste from other cities

Process in place until September while new facility under construction in Chilliwack

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read