Native Diva Creations and the Authentically Indigenous Craft Show

Oki, tansi readers,

It’s good to be back and blogging! I had the opportunity to attend a few great conferences these past few months, so I’m looking forward to bringing you a re-cap on some great entrepreneurial and business conferences you should keep an eye out for in 2017! However, today I bring you a blog post on a friend I met at one of these conferences, and the Indigenous craft show she runs with her sister. This craft show returns to Calgary for the next two weekends, and you don’t want to miss out!

Autumn Eagle Speaker and Melrene Saloy-Eagle Speaker are sisters who come from the Blood Tribe in Southern Alberta. Both have an entrepreneurial spirit, and both enjoy giving back to the community using the skills that they have. Autumn had event planning skills and Melrene had a business mind (being the owner of Native Diva Creations), so the two worked together to create a new project. The project became the Authentically Indigenous Craft Show; this year will mark the second one that the sisters are hosting. The Authentically Indigenous Craft Show will be happening this weekend in Calgary on December 10th, from 10 am to 5 pm at the Kerby Centre Gymnasium in Downtown Calgary. Admission is $2 for adults, and free for children. There is also free parking adjacent to the building!

There will be many other Indigenous artisans and businesses showcased, and it’s a great opportunity to get any last minute Christmas or holiday gifts. I know I will be picking up a few last minute things (as I made the decision not to purchase from large corporations this Christmas and instead support only local small business). If you can’t make it this weekend, the craft show will be back the following Saturday, in the same place, with the same price for admissions, but with a few new vendors. You can check out the Facebook page here for the list of vendors and more information.

Melrene will not only be hosting the other Indigenous vendors from Calgary and surrounding areas, but she will also be set up as a vendor with Native Diva Creations. Native Diva Creations is Melrene’s brain child, and it is a small business that has had a huge impact in her market. After only 2 years, Melrene is beading full-time, and has been nominated for awards, been included in fashion shows, and even had pieces worn by attendees at the Golden Globe awards. Her unique style of traditionally inspired street-wear jewelry combines traditional beadwork with a wearable style of jewelry that include modern touches anyone can wear.

Native Diva Creations wants anyone to be able to wear their pieces, whether Indigenous or non-Indigenous; by combining traditional beadwork with modern jewelry trends, Native Diva Creations opens up an aspect of our culture that has been around for millenium to a new audience. It is a style that can be dressed up or dressed down, and they are pieces that are authentically made by an Indigenous woman; her work is definitely better than the stuff you can buy in “trendy” fashion stores, likely made in a factory in a far away country. Instead of keeping her pieces only in the traditional style, Melrene believes that making more contemporary pieces allows her to stop the type-cast of tourist garb and start putting native fashions and jewelry into the mainstream. Melrene’s styles are often uniquely made, and if a style is duplicated, different colors are used – you can always be sure that your fashions from Melrene weren’t mass manufactured, and that a lot of care went into the final piece you’ll wear. Here are the pieces I have from her:


Since establishing her business, Melrene has had opportunities to speak on panels to other entrepreneurs, was nominated anonymously for a Calgary Chamber of Commerce award this year, went to Santa Fe to be included in a fashion show (she was also the first Canadian to be included in this show, and this market fit her niche well), and that is just some of what she has done this year! Native Diva Creations has really been taking off, and Melrene is often so busy from custom orders and trying to complete work to sell at craft shows, she sometimes has to turn people away. Melrene’s hardwork in making cold calls, knocking on doors and being told no is paying off, but she also attributes much of her success back to her community and the help that she has received. Her biggest drivers in her life are her two children; they have been her main inspiration to keep going and to succeed in her business goals.

After attending the Treaty 7 Young Entrepreneur Symposium, and then the Young Entrepreneur Symposium in 2014 (National Conference), Melrene started to get a sense of what she wanted to do (these are 2 great conferences I also recently attended, and will have a re-cap on). She had support from her family to quit her job in retail, and once she jumped in, Melrene realized she had more skills in business than she had initially thought, thanks to the retail industry. At first, many people thought what Native Diva Creations was all about was just a hobby; however, Melrene’s dedication to her business and her craft payed off because she stuck to it and believed in herself. To this day, the homework and research continues, as the market that Melrene is in is always changing. In order to stay ahead, Melrene seeks out information that is relevant to her business almost daily, and always tries to better understand her market. Even though Melrene didn’t win the Chamber of Commerce award this year, it did set her up with a whole new network she is looking forward to leveraging and utilizing their free training courses, so that she can better her business and pay it forward to other Indigenous entrepreneurs seeking guidance!

That is another great thing about Native Diva Creations owner – she is always looking for ways to give back as she becomes more successful. She has future goals to help even more entrepreneurs get their work out there through craft shows, as well as other projects she is still figuring out the details for. For now, Native Diva Creations is enjoying her successes to this date, and is looking at ways she can expand her business, but still ensure quality control in her pieces. You can check out her website here for her pieces that are in stock, and you can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.


Native Diva Creations would like for all women entrepreneurs to believe in yourself and don’t stop trying to achieve your goals; remember to acknowledge your accomplishments and be proud of how far you have come with your business goals, no matter how small they may seem. Nurturing relationships and not being afraid to take risks is also important; remember that competition isn’t the only way to do business. Indigenous Busy-ness also believes that this advice holds true for all entrepreneurs.



Calgary Aboriginal Youth Filmmakers go to Toronto for imagineNATIVE Film Festival!

Oki, Tansi!

The other night, I attended a screening for a new short film here in Calgary – that short film was Skateboarding Pants. This animation was created by 7-year-old Colton Willier (Cree/Blackfoot) and his friend Ethan Aspeslet-Asels (Dene Tha) with the help of their moms, Amy and Thalia. This short animation utilizes cut-outs and original music created by the group. The boys were successful in their application for the 17th annual imagineNATIVE Film Festival happening in Toronto, ON from October 19-23 this year; they will also be the youngest filmmakers in attendance for this event. What an exciting opportunity for two of our Calgary Aboriginal youth!


The boys will have the opportunity to showcase their film to people from across Canada and also be exposed to other artists creating digital and audio works during the festival. imagineNATIVE Film Festival is “the world’s largest presenter of Indigenous screen content from around the world” and is “committed to creating a greater understanding of Indigenous peoples and cultures through the presentation of contemporary Indigenous-made media art (film, video, audio and digital media)”. To learn more about the festival and charity, or to purchase tickets, check out their website here; for more information on the artists attending this year and the events break down, see this link to their catalog.

Colton is a multi-artist who not only creates film, but also has a passion for drawing. His mother is also an artist and Colton has been surrounded by Native contemporary and traditional art since he was young; his mother runs an art gallery in Calgary with her mother and cousin, called Moonstone Creation. It is located in a quaint little house on a corner in Inglewood. Moonstone Creation also supports other Aboriginal artists through showcasing their items and also purchasing items from these artists for the gallery. Colton and Ethan were busy fundraising through selling leather bracelets at $2.00 each that Colton made; they still have a few left if you are interested! You can contact Amy at or visit Moonstone Creation’s Facebook page here to see some of the beautiful items Amy has created for the boys to wear during the festival. You can also see Moonstone’s website here. Look out for a blog post on Moonstone Creation in the near future too, my dear readers.

Art has been an important part of Aboriginal business for many  decades and with the new technology available to us, we are expanding in our creations, getting our voice out there, re-claiming our identity, and telling our own stories through creating our own media. Organizations like imagineNATIVE also support this re-telling of our stories. Indigenous Busy-ness is looking forward to a Skateboarding Pants sequel and the other work that this duo will create as they grow as artists! Supporting our Aboriginal youth is important to creating healthy, resilient communities and this a great opportunity for these young artists to build their community of supports. The art world can be tough to enter, but the work that imagineNATIVE does is actively breaking down these barriers for many Indigenous artists, nationally and internationally, while also helping to break down old stereo-types by creating understanding between cultures through showcasing our experiences as Indigenous peoples as told by us. There is a hashtag that you can utilize – #in17 – to follow updates on the film festival on both Facebook and Twitter!

Indigenous Busy-ness wishes the best of luck to the boys during the festival and in all of their future endeavours. To catch a re-cap of some Q & A with the young filmmakers, check out this accompanying vlog on the Indigenous Busy-ness YouTube channel. Thank you to the boys and their mothers for welcoming Indigenous Busy-ness to the screening! It is really great to see Aboriginal youth creating their own paths and putting themselves out there! Just goes to show you that the entrepreneur spirit comes in all shapes, sizes, ages, and industries!

Cree8 Calgary

If you’ve ever been to a community event in Calgary, you’re likely to have seen Chantal Chagnon drumming and singing with the Sisters from Another Mother, working as a volunteer, or in the crowd. Chantal is the lady with the pink hair, something that has become her trademark during her journey and it makes her so noticeable in crowds. She is a tireless advocate for many issues affecting people in the Calgary community and works tirelessly for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members alike. She has been busy collaborating with the Union choir, opening up the new CKUA radio station in Calgary, working with the Arusha Centre, and attending other events including the opening of Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin’s film, “We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice”, at the Calgary Film Festival this past week.



Chantal is also the owner of Cree8 Calgary, a cultural endeavour of Chantal’s that “aims to create bridges between people, culture and within yourself”. Cree8 “offers performances, workshops and presentations to share traditional aboriginal culture, crafts and teachings” within Calgary. Chantal and her mother Cheryle have even brought these services to Edmonton, and other areas within Alberta. Currently, the workshops that Chantal offers are Drum and Stick Making, Métis Fingerweaving, Dreamcatcher and Rattle workshops. She also offers private events (including corporate events), public speaking within schools and for youth groups, and is always willing to offer her services for anyone needing a beautiful voice to lift up the spirits of the crowd.

The inspiration for Cree8’s name is derived from Chantal and Cheryle’s Cree heritage, as well as the fact that both Chantal and her mother are “creative natives” that enjoy creating traditional crafts with traditional materials and teachings. The 8 in the name also has special meaning, as it represents the Métis infinity symbol presented on their flags; the infinity symbol has represented the joining of two cultures for the Métis peoples (as well as the existence of a culture forever) and is very fitting for the work that Chantal and her mother do. You can find more information on the Métis flag here.

In 2015, Chantal hosted the 8th Fire Gathering in Calgary, that was “three days of inspiring speakers, powerful performances, informative sessions, interactive workshops, and engaging activities”. Information was shared over the 3 days on information on “Idle No More, Human Rights Issues, Workers & Union Rights, Aboriginal Treaty Rights, Indigenous Sovereignty and Canadian Sovereignty, the Environment, Community Activism, Progressive Politics, and the future of Canada”. She will again be organizing the event, but this time will bring the gathering to Eastern Canada to the city of Ottawa, Ontario. To follow this gathering and keep up with all of the information on dates, check out the Facebook page here. This was a dynamic experience for Chantal, having planned the event, secured speakers, volunteers and space. Her favourite part was seeing the sharing of prayer in 8 different Indigenous languages from across Canada. Chantal is looking forward to again sharing this experience with others.

Attending Chantal’s July drum workshop, I could see Chantal’s passion for sharing culture in action.  During the workshop, we learned from one another and shared many stories; it was such a nice experience to be in a room full of people from all backgrounds wanting to learn more about Indigenous culture and customs. It was also refreshing to see Chantal in action, as I have previously seen the drums she and her mother created but hadn’t seen the process of creating one. It set the stage for me to uncover more of her story, as I have known Chantal for years, but after sitting down and picking her brain about her business, being an Aboriginal woman in her field, and the adversity she has faced, I feel that I know her so much better. Here are some more photos from the workshop:

Being in the activist community for years, Chantal has worked with a variety of organizations, corporations, and other activists on a number of projects. Oftentimes, Chantal gives her time for free. When there are events in Calgary, Chantal is often doing media relations, offering her voice and presence at events, or finding other ways to be of assistance. Chantal never expects money nor does she expect any special treatment in return for her service. This speaks to her integrity, as Chantal is truly doing it for the cause and not for any recognition or gratitude. Sadly, Chantal has also had to work alongside with those that seek only payment or acknowledgment during events. Walking your talk is so important, especially in business, but it also important to do so in your everyday life. Saying that you believe in a cause and giving your time and effort without expecting payment or gratitude is one way that one can show integrity.

Chantal believes staying true to yourself is probably the most important thing you can do as a woman in business. Being unafraid to speak out against injustice is also very important; unfortunately, this may come in the form of defending yourself and your work against discrimination or prejudice. The issue of the value of work in our society done by women can often hinder us when we attempt to branch out into business and Chantal has felt this misogyny from people before, even in her own communities. Chantal hopes to see a day when the same work that a woman does is not seen as less to comparable work done by a man, whatever the work may be.

Uplifting the youth is one way Chantal sees this happening; she believes that our youth are the future and they can start to fix the mistakes we have made, given the right teachings. This belief is reflected in her volunteer work with organizations that work with at-risk youth and her work at the K-12 level students; Chantal offers her workshops, as well as music therapy and speaking engagements for youth that get them talking about culture and identity. With Cree8, she was also able to recently donate 120 rattles to Alberta Foster Care Adoption for children and caregivers to utilize. Chantal’s compassion is evident in the types of events and organizations she supports; her tireless advocacy for human rights is something we can all learn from and try to emulate in advancing our society.

Check out Cree8’s Facebook page  to sign up for upcoming drum, dreamcatcher, fingerweaving and rattle workshops in October. Also, be sure to attend the 12th Annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil if you are in the Calgary Area on October 4th! Chantal will be leading the march, singing and speaking. You can find full information on the day’s events here. Indigenous Busy-ness wishes Chantal success with her upcoming workshops, an artist’s residency she landed for November in Lac La Biche, the 8th fire gathering in Ottawa, and all the other events she will assist with. Look out for an update later next year on Cree8!



Updates, Round 2

Oki, tansi my dear readers,

It’s been a while since my last post, wow. Trying to find work sure can take up a lot of your time. Though, within the month I have been fortunate enough to attend a drum making workshop and also help with my parent’s house raising and received some updates from them on their business. I was also selected to attend the 18th annual Treaty 7 Youth Entrepreneur Symposium that took place from August 21-26. Quite exciting stuff! Here is a link to their Facebook page if anyone is interested in keeping them on your radar, so that you can apply next year!

I will have the drum making workshop post and updates on Thunderbird farms coming up soon – I’ve also decided to add short YouTube vlogs for each business that I visit, so look out for those on my channel, which you can find here! I will have one for both the drum making workshop and for Thunderbird farms! I’ll also have a recap on my experience at the T7YES coming your way as well. By attending this symposium, I was able to meet many more like-minded individuals and entrepreneurs my age.

I’ve said in previous posts that I would try to post more frequently, but that has been futile so far. Given that, I hope that you dear readers will follow my site, or subscribe on YouTube to my channel, so that you can keep updated on when I post! The vlogs will act as a heads-up whenever there is a new post, and you can watch a video to get an idea of the contents of each blog post.

I look forward to connecting with you again soon, with the next blog post centering around the drum making workshop I attended at the end of July and Chantal Chagnon’s business, Cree8. Soon after that I will follow with an update on my parent’s business endeavours and my experience at the symposium. Stay tuned! And don’t forget to subscribe and set notifications for the videos, if you so choose! Here are a few photos from the drum making workshop, to keep you satisfied:

Kitakitamaatsin (until we meet again)

The Tastes and Sights of Vancouver

Oki, Tansi, my dear readers:

As you know, I recently had the good fortune to spend a few days in Vancouver and what a trip it was! In addition to enjoying the ocean, the seas, and that fresh salt-air, I was also lucky enough to meet some locals, enjoy some great Canadian Indigenous food at Salmon n’ Bannock, and learn more about the history of the city, particularly about the Eastside. This is a bit of a longer post – but I think you will enjoy it!

The highlight of my trip was getting the opportunity to sit down with one of the owners of Salmon n’ Bannock – a one of a kind restaurant in the city, located on West Broadway, serving traditional Indigenous cuisine in the heart of Vancouver. Salmon n’ Bannock takes traditional Indigenous ingredients from across Canada, and incorporates them into lovely dishes with a modern palate. Before enjoying a HUGE buffalo meat “Indian Taco” (a flat taco like dish on baked bannock with all of the taco fixings) and ending it off with a (shared :P) huckleberry pie and a bannock bread pudding, I tried a eulachon. It was prepared traditionally up in the far North – this small little fish is smoked for 14 hours, and meant to be eaten whole: bones, head and everything! If anyone knows me, you know I’m only really a fan of salmon (I grew up on the prairies, give me a break! :P) but this was so good I would definitely try again! No wonder they call it a delicacy! I think my dad and boyfriend were surprised I actually tried it and enjoyed it! Here’s the meal I had, along with those eulachons, some candied salmon (which was to die for and amazing, I can’t say better things about it!) and the desserts we ordered to share (minus a bite :P). By the way, all of Salmon n’ Bannock’s bannock is baked, not fried, for you health conscious readers wondering:

Sitting down with Inez, 51% owner of Salmon n’ Bannock, she told me a little background about her life and shared with me that she was adopted out of her culture at a young age (unfortunately, such stories can be common in FNMI communities, as this adopting out was once government policy and is still happening today. Here is a good article you can read on that topic, if you are interested). Through opening her business, Inez is not only breaking down cultural barriers between Indigenous and mainstream culture while blazing paths and creating opportunities for other First Nations, Métis and Inuit [FNMI] folks (her staff is all FNMI, and she even had a Blackfoot woman like me working there, from the same tribe!), but Inez has also been revisiting her roots and reconnecting to her culture through this endeavour. This aspect is so important and very respectable especially given that she was taken away from her culture and never fully got the chance to experience it growing up. However, as Inez shows us, it is never too late to reconnect and begin to decolonize through traditional resistance and practicing our cultural ways.

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Not only has she created an opportunity for herself to get more in touch with her roots, she has also created opportunities for other Indigenous folks to reconnect to our food culture, as well as an opportunity for cross-cultural learning for non-Indigenous folks. Not to mention, she is giving our FNMI people within the culinary world an outlet and creating economical bases in many First Nations communities through her collaborative approach to her menu items. As someone who enjoys seeking out the traditional cuisine of visited countries, Inez was shocked that there was not such a place in one of the most bustling Canadian cities that catered towards an Indigenous menu for the original inhabitants of Turtle Island; I am so glad that her and her business partner took it upon themselves to share the diverse cuisine of our FNMI communities with the world –  I’m sure her many business connections that help build the menus are as well!

I really enjoyed the meal, seeing the friendly FNMI staff and people of all backgrounds and ethnicities enjoying our traditional meals, and of course, Inez’s dedication to her customers. I am very thankful for her sitting down with me and speaking to me; even though she is busy trying to manage a restaurant on the days that she is there and cater to other customers (either her or her business partner are there in body to give customers a more personalized experience, sometimes both), she still took the time to sit with me and give me her full attention, which was very refreshing. I gifted her with a small wreath of sweetgrass from my traditional territory to thank her for speaking with me (which is an important aspect when asking for favours in many FNMI communities).

As a woman who has studied business, it’s always great to see women in business, and even more so, due to my heritage, FNMI women in business. The structure of their business, a 51% ownership share for Inez and 49% for her non-Indigenous business partner Remi, is one way that this duo also shows us how we can build bridges between cultures while also promoting FNMI business ownership. I’m excited to see what the future holds for this business – Inez hopes for a second location, bigger space, and more customers, but is also looking forward to all things the Creator has in store. If you are in the area, make sure to book your reservation today! You won’t regret it – I only regret not going sooner when I’ve had the chance! Great prices, great food, and an overall great atmosphere! Here’s some photos of the meal my parent’s ordered – traditional game meat with all the fixings (looked soo good):

In addition to hanging around West Broadway, I also found myself in the East Van area a lot that weekend. I didn’t really expect to end up in East Vancouver, but maybe things happen for a reason. This area has gotten a bad rap in the public space for many reasons, some related to those reasons that are stealing some of our brothers and sisters from us. However, aside from the less than perfect reputation this side of town has, it has also been the site of many grassroots activism and you can really see the spirit of the neighbourhood in how people look out for each other there.

In the Eastside, I got the opportunity to attend a gathering happening at Shop Wrong with a bunch of up and coming FNMI youth artists blazing paths in their respective fields (drama, film, music) and even got to purchase a cool piece of art there as well that prompted me to learn more about the area. While they are not Aboriginal owned, they do participate in the East Van community very heavily, and also support young budding FNMI artists by hosting free workshops and putting their art on display in their shop for free, in addition to the many other services they provide to the community through their other endeavours. I didn’t even know such a place existed! Here is a blog post that speaks more to that and you can also visit their Facebook page here. After that night, a relative also brought us to visit the memorial for our Missing and Murdered Indigenous (and non-Indigenous!) Women and Men down by the docks (which is an issue I actively speak out against, due to the closeness that it hits home for me from having friends/family who have lost their loved ones due to senseless, colonial, and gendered violence or been subject to such violence themselves). We gave a moment of silence for those that we have lost, and I am thankful to my boyfriend’s cousin for bringing us to see it, as I was unaware there was such a marker. Although this side of town has gotten a bad rap, the stories and the history within that side of the city, in my opinion, show our true humanity – the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, and most importantly, the resiliency of the human spirit:

Now I am back in Calgary, and graduation has come and gone. I’m working on getting my own business established and keeping up the blog with more frequent posts; I’ve been seeking out Aboriginal businesses here in the city this past month along my travels and actually, once you start seeking things out, isn’t it funny how many opportunities come about? It’s been a good month, and I met a lot of artists in the Calgary community, as I finally put myself out there and submitted a piece in an art show. I’m really excited to show you dear readers just how diverse the Aboriginal business world really is! Look out for my next post on FNMI art in Calgary; I’ll be showcasing a few artists that have been in the art business for various years, working with mediums such as acrylics, oils, and more traditional materials/handmade crafts like hides and other useful tools made from animal parts, as per tradition.

Also – please excuse my interchanging with Aboriginal, Indigenous, and FNMI – sometimes I don’t like to use the term Aboriginal as it a colonial, government term so I sometimes use Indigenous in it’s place, or FNMI to be a little clearer of which Indigenous groups I am talking about, as the Indigenous world is very diverse and every country has Indigenous peoples! I still use the term Aboriginal in my posts, as usually people will search Aboriginal business instead of FNMI business or Indigenous business, when searching for FNMI businesses. Thank you for understanding, and sorry if it annoyed anyone. There is a method to my craziness! I’ll leave you now with a picture of my first painting I’ve ever entered into an art show (that wasn’t at my high school lol) – it address business success and structures that have been built upon colonialism; how fitting for my blog though and our next post about art :P! (Ps – it’s for sale, inquire if interested!):


Kitakitamaatsin (until we meet again),



Thunderbird Farms and Growing Pain

Oki, Tansi,

I know, I know! It’s been another 20 days, but I am finally a little more focused and ready to get on with the new chapter of my life now that graduation ceremonies are all done (I attended 3 in total for myself! what an experience!).

In this post, I really wanted to focus on my parent’s current endeavor called Thunderbird Farms, which is a self-sustaining farm in the heart of Southern Alberta on the Blood Tribe. I visited in April to see what they had been up to, since they have just recently gotten back on their land after being forced to relocate due to a grass fire in 2012. They had quite the set-up going on however! They had their greenhouse up and functioning, with lots of sprouts happening (my mom is even growing bath loofas! Unbelievable right?); they also had their raised garden beds and compost built and the starting of a potato field. It was quite the site! Here are some pictures from that visit:

Since then, they have been even busier, with a new partnership with the Aboriginal Aquaculture Association (even receiving a grant for more investments in their business!) and many more improvements to their greenhouse and garden areas. They were even able to put up their solar panels and battery supply during the month of May as well! They’ve had great help from members of the Lethbridge and Blood Reserve communities, receiving plant splices, help with insulating the greenhouse and even planting the rows of potatoes my mother wanted! I’m so excited to see the harvest later this summer and also the progress that they will start to make on their home! Thanks to my brother and mother posting pictures online, I never miss a beat! Here are some of their most recent progress pictures – all of this occurred within a month and a half of my last visit! It’s great! They still need a lot of help though and volunteers to re-build their home and future business site, you can get in touch with them here. It can be difficult doing all of this work with only a team of 3! If my words alone don’t convince you, here’s the progress pics (imagine being a part of this!):

Even though my parent’s have a lot going on with their business, they still found time to make it to my graduation ceremonies in Vancouver and twice in Calgary; I’m so grateful to have such hardworking parents who still make time to share in my accomplishments as well, even if it means putting work on hold for a few days (but I think they needed the break!). We had a great time in Vancouver, and my dad was even able to meet with his new partners face to face (such an entrepreneur! Always working!).

I hope you enjoyed this post on the progress that my parents are making with their aquaculture endeavors. Their entrepreneurial story is so rich and has spanned many years, and working with my father, I hope to bring you even more stories on their progress and how they came to the idea of bringing aquaculture to the bald prairies. Also, look out for my next post on the sights (and tastes) I experienced in Vancouver! One of the biggest highlights was sitting down with the owner of Salmon N’ Bannock and learning more about their business journey! I also ended up at a sweet spot I want to share more information on, a place you should definitely check out if you are in the East Vancouver area! Here’s a pretty photo I got of Mt. Baker to tide you all over! 😉






Hello my fellow Niitsitapiiks!

Apologies, it’s been 20 days since I’ve first posted! I’ve been busy trying to get my own business started (if you are into self-care, check out my Facebook page) and figuring out a few things for graduation (I’ll be in Vancouver this weekend for the Ch’nook Scholars grad – check out the page here for more information on this innovative program for Aboriginal business students)!

However, I’ve made a few new connections this past weekend with some pretty popular names within the social justice sphere and media industry here in Calgary, so I’m looking forward to bringing you interviews with them as a showcase on how diverse the Aboriginal business world is! Also, I will be spending 5 days in Vancouver and visiting the Aboriginal businesses down in Granville Island/Gastown and probably going to eat a meal at Salmon n’ Bannock down on Broadway (and try to interview owners :P)!

I’m also sending questions my father’s way so he can answer some questions on their off-grid aquaponics and farming business they are starting up, so I hope to have that post up by the end of the week, and my Vancouver adventures up the week after! Then I will be getting in touch with the contacts I’ve made so far and start on my visits! So bear with me! I hope to bring you many more posts with connections I’ve made within the Aboriginal business world as I know of so many great businesses that are Aboriginal owned and run!

I leave you now with a picture of my father’s greenhouse design he built himself from the ground up to get you excited for the post on his business! Some pretty amazing innovations going on down on the Blood Tribe inspired by the self-sustainability movement! Thanks for reading!

Kitakitamaatsin (until we meet again – Blackfoot, but excuse the spelling)!





Oki, tansi, warm welcomes

Oki, Tansi – or hello for those of you that do not speak Cree or Blackfoot. Guessing from my introduction, you might have guessed that I am of Indigenous descent from here in Canada. I am a Cree, Blackfoot woman who has been studying business and my path has taken me on a journey where Aboriginal business here in Canada has been something I’ve been considering a lot lately.

Being a part of the Ch’nook Scholars program, I have been lucky enough to have more of a glimpse into Aboriginal business than most, especially business conducted on the coast. However, even though I have been going to school to obtain a Bachelor of Commerce, I still feel there are many things I do not know about conducting business as an Aboriginal in Treaty territory  as well as conducting business outside of Treaty territory.

Now that I am finished with school, I have decided to take on this task of learning more about Aboriginal businesses in the Calgary and Southern Alberta, by visiting these businesses and conducting showcases. I also believe that this will be beneficial to those business owners, as it will give those looking to support Aboriginal businesses in the area a central place to locate information!

Thank you for reading my first post – my second post will feature Thunderbird Farms, which is an organization close to my heart. My parent’s own this self-sustaining aquaponics farm in Southern Alberta, and their journey is very inspiring, as they have overcome many hardships to accomplish their dreams of owning their own Aboriginal owned business. I hope you will enjoy the posts!