Louise Hillier has been Chief of Caldwell First Nation since 2007 and is in her third term of four-year terms (next election to be held in June of 2019). She is Potawatome, 3 fires confederacy, and dedicated to the Nation in helping them reclaim their sovereignty because are still not fully respected by proponents in the area. She is a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Family is important to her, including extended family and tribal family as they are all connected.
Chief Hillier went into the hospitality industry where she stayed for 25 years (20 years at one establishment) and worked with people; people skills are important to her. In May of 1993, she graduated with a diploma in Office Administration and completed an IT program at St. Clair College through continuing education. She started working at St. Clair College in July of 1993. In 1999-2000 she took the position with financial aid until her early retirement in 2012. Chief Hillier also attributes life experiences to her success; everything she has done has helped prepare for today, even working in the fields. It grounds and humbles you, working in the elements, harvesting, and earning a living for your family enables you to learn a lot more, especially when that time has been spent with your dad, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. She believes that smaller groups contribute to what happens with the larger group.
As for Caldwell First Nation’s successes, Chief Hillier was part of the Council that brought in the Nation’s land claim settlement. This was a high spot after more than 220 years. In addition, she is proud to be a part of the AIP Ratification, and most recently in the purchasing of land and on the addition to a 203 acre parcel addition to reserve, which takes a tremendous amount of time. When first elected, a big highlight for Chief Hillier was getting band families and members to start communicating with each other in a more unified approach
Chief Hillier is especially proud of the direction a lot of the students are taking in their studies and in coming up with some fantastic careers. One of her goals would be to be able to provide gainful employment to members.
One of the challenges Caldwell First Nation has recently faced, was when its community signs were defaced with racist comments. In spite of the vandalism, there was tremendous support from the community and municipality. A new, local company contacted the First Nation to replace the signs free of charge.
Some recent community projects that Chief Hillier is most proud of is Caldwell First Nation’s Pow Wow in 2016. She assisted a working group in helping prepare the dance area and grounds. She is pleased with the deer herd reduction at Point Pelee which is a source of natural food for Caldwell’s people/elders. Finally, she is grateful for the Summer Student Program with Point Pelee National Park with training students on environmental species at risk and providing work to the students.
Chief Hillier sees the LDCC returning to the force it used to be. With the strong leaders, it has the ability to command quite a bit of authority and she would like to see them return to that, and in being more united in common goals they would like to achieve.