Ryan Oliberius is Respect Works Here Community Champion of the month February 2021. (Contributed)

Ryan Oliberius is Respect Works Here Community Champion of the month February 2021. (Contributed)

Community Champion: Youngest OKIB council member listens to heart, follows dreams

28-year-old Ryan Oliverius was working a welding job when he realized he ‘had to take responsibility for my own decisions’

Ryan Oliverius has accomplished a lot in his 28 years. He grew up in Vernon and is the first member of his family to obtain a university degree.

He is currently the communication coordinator for the Okanagan Nation Alliance. In this role, he takes care of all the social media and helps to plan programs including photography and videos.

Oliverius is also the youngest member of the Okanagan Indian Band Council.

While attending Thompson Rivers University (TRU), he was asked by their marketing team to be the voice and face of TRU. Oliverius was in the Globe and Mail, on billboards and TRU’s website pages, and everywhere the university was promoted in B.C. and Alberta.

“It was fun and helped to develop my self-confidence,” he said.

In 2019, Oliverius was on the youth panel for CANDO, a national Indigenous organization involved in community development.

As well as being the youth representative on a variety of panels, he has also spoken to school-aged children, sharing his path and his choices in life, hoping to encourage them to stay in school and pursue their dreams.

Initially thinking that university was not a possibility, he enrolled in a program that was designed to help him decide what to do for a career. While taking this program, he was told his IQ was very high. When he met with a career counsellor, he was advised to go into the trades and he signed up for a welding course.

“It was at a welding job that I had an epiphanal moment… I realized that I had to take responsibility for my own decisions, so I listened to my heart and followed my dreams. I figured out a way to go to university and graduated with a Business Administration degree.”

He is also involved with community economic development initiatives (CANDO and FDM) and interacts with the City of Vernon. Some of this includes cultural tourism. Oliverius feels it is important to have a young First Nation voice in all these different areas.

As a First Nations Champion Dancer he does the Prairie Chicken dance, as well as drumming and singing. He taught school children how to do this dance.

After attending university Oliverius started his business, Salish Steel Metal Art. He shares that he loves the creative aspect of marketing and thinks that entrepreneurship may offer financial freedom at some point.

At this writing, Oliverius also has two photographs hanging in the Vernon Art Gallery to help bring awareness to missing and murdered Indigenous women.

The monthly Community Champion feature is submitted by Respect Works Here, which is an initiative of the Social Planning Council of the North Okanagan. They are also the host agency for the Local Immigration Partnership Council and the Thompson Okanagan Respect Network.

READ MORE: Community Champion: Hugh Carter celebrates teamwork in volunteering

READ MORE: $75K lotto ticket sold in Vernon


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pastor Cliff Siebert of the Okanagan Landing Community Church (centre) addresses some of his congregation in-person for the first time in many months Sunday, April 18, as the church held the first of what they hope will be regular outdoor services with COVID protocols adhered to and obeyed. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon church hosts outdoor service

Okanagan Landing Community Church put strict COVID protocols in place to hold sermon in back parking lot

The City of Armstrong has been named one of Canada’s 20 best towns to live based on low cost of living and high paying jobs, according to a survey by Numbeo. (Facebook photo/Rhythm Productions)
Armstrong lands among 20 best cities to live in Canada

Survey conducted based on low cost of living and high paying jobs; five other B.C. towns on list

Windsurfers enjoying a windstorm on Skaha Lake in Penticton on March 28, 2021. (Sandy Steck Photography)
Wind warning issued for Okanagan Valley

Boaters are being warned of gusts up to 70 km/h by late afternoon on Sunday

Vernon Vipers forward Ryan Shostak (centre) fends off a check from Salmon Arm defenceman to get a close-in scoring attempt on Silverbacks goalie Owen Say during Vernon’s 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play shootout victory Saturday, April 17, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers photography)
Vernon Vipers use shootout to subdue Salmon Arm

Snakes score 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play win at Kal Tire Place

Coldstream Fire Department crews stationed at Kal Lake Provincial Park parking lot on Cosens Bay Road on Sunday, April 18, after a car went over a cliff in the area. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Driver escapes after car goes over cliff in Coldstream near Kal Lake Park

The driver has been transported to hospital with unspecified injuries

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A Kelowna Pride Festival 2019 participant holds up a flag. (Kelowna Pride Society)
Kelowna Pride, RCMP continue to work on ‘Safe Place Program’

A new committee has been formed to refine the ‘Safe Place Program’ created by the Kelowna RCMP

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Strange smell at West Kelowna apartment prompts evacuation of 150 residents, pets

150 residents ordered evacuated from a West Kelowna apartment building early Sunday morning

This is what’s left of a truck that caught fire at Pyramid Provincial Park off Highway 97 near Summerland Saturday night. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Photo Gallery: Truck gutted by fire at popular Okanagan park, trees saved

Just a metal shell of what once was a pick up truck is left at the scene

Most Read