The case studies highlight Canadian Indigenous business owners as they confront economic barriers and emerge as innovative leaders. As demonstrated in research previously conducted by CCAB, economic development in Indigenous communities positively impacts the general well-being of the community. Indigenous economic growth contributes $30 billion to Canada’s economy annually, leading to increased job opportunities, skill development, and capacity building in Indigenous communities.
“Using innovative digital storytelling, we are hoping to inspire and encourage future Indigenous business leaders,” says CCAB President and CEO, Tabatha Bull. “And by showcasing a diverse range of businesses with unique economic structures, we’re demonstrating there is no one-size-fits-all paradigm for Indigenous economic success. Diverse, robust sustainable Indigenous businesses will propel economic reconciliation and the entire Canadian economy forward.”
Indsights seeks to challenge perceptions of Indigenous economic prosperity and decolonize through engaging content and positive stories. Through the project, Canadian post-secondary students are educated on the importance of Indigenous economic development in Canada, demonstrated through case studies, partnerships, and illustrations of positive stakeholder engagement.
Humber College and CCAB share a vision of realizing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report’s 94 Calls to Action, especially Calls 62 to 65 which pertain to education. Indsights is part of Humber and CCAB’s effort to advance these Calls by incorporating Indigenous voices into mainstream academic curriculum. Though called for by both the TRC and the National Indigenous Economic Strategy, there are currently limited resources for post-secondary educators to include Indigenous content in their curriculum outside of Indigenous studies programs. Indsights seeks to close this gap and create innovative open educational resources for post-secondary educators to integrate into their curriculums. Educators and learners can access Indsights on the project website at no cost. To accommodate diverse learning needs, the materials include text-based cases, supplementary videos, and a discussion facilitator guide for educators.
“Indsights is about developing content that teachers and professors can integrate into their courses, curriculums, and classrooms,” says Audrey Wubbenhorst, a professor at Humber College and principal investigator with Indsights. “It’s important for learners to see Indigenous businesses thriving across the country and hear their stories. We’re incredibly thankful to our participants for sharing their time and stories for the benefit of future generations.”
Case Study Participants Available for Interviews:
Nuez Acres: Anthony Wingham is a Métis entrepreneur and founder of Nuez Acres, located on the unceded lands of the Katzie, Kwantlen, Matsqui, and Semiahmoo First Nations in Fort Langley, British Columbia. Nuez Acres is a seed-to-skin clean beauty company which specializes in pecan-based products.
“Pecans are actually one of the first things that were colonized when settlers came into Canada back in the 1800s. The word pecan, the original word is an Algonquin word from the Great Lakes of Ontario,” explains Wingham. “It’s really turned into almost a decolonization story.”
Bentwood Skateboards: Brenda Knights is a co-owner of Bentwood Skateboards – the first Indigenous-owned skateboarding brand in Canada and internationally. Brenda is from Kwantlen First Nation and has worked closely with her First Nation to launch their economic development initiatives. Along with her business partner Jason Bothe, an established figure in the skateboarding industry, Knights is bringing Indigenous art, culture, and values to skateboarding.
“In my nation, we’re taught to live by seven laws, and it’s health, happiness, humbleness, generations, generosity, forgiveness, and understanding, and we try to bring those principles to the business,” says Knights. As part of that commitment, Bentwood sponsors and offers mentorship to a young Indigenous skateboarder who embodies those seven principals. “Our dream would be to see an Indigenous skateboarder in the Olympics.”
Indigenous Treaty Partners: Corey Mattie and Houston Barnaby are the founders of Indigenous Treaty Partners, an Indigenous-owned and operated cultural training and consulting service for organizations of all sizes. Their mission is “to Indigenize corporate Canada by delivering the highest quality Indigenous consulting services.”
“One of the considerations that we’ve always taken very seriously is what it means to be Indigenous in the twenty-first century. We didn’t just want to be Indigenous people who own a business, but we wanted to be an Indigenous business,” says Barnaby. “That meant bringing our principles that our peoples have always had for thousands of years into the modern day.”
About Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business:
CCAB is committed to the full participation of Indigenous peoples in Canada’s economy. As a national, non-partisan association, its mission is to promote, strengthen and enhance a prosperous Indigenous economy through the fostering of business relationships, opportunities, and awareness. CCAB offers knowledge, resources, and programs to its members to cultivate economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples and businesses across Canada. For more information, visit www.ccab.com.
About Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning:
Humber College is focused on our students’ future. Humber provides career-focused education to more than 86,000 learners in-person at three main Toronto locations and online. As a global leader in polytechnic education, Humber students receive in-depth theoretical learning and hands-on experience with applied research and extensive industry connections. A comprehensive range of credentials, including honours undergraduate degrees, Ontario graduate certificates, diplomas, apprenticeships, and certificates, prepare career-ready global citizens to move seamlessly from education to employment. More than 86 per cent of Humber graduates are employed within six months of completing their studies. Visit www.humber.ca.
Symmetry Public Relations
Symmetry Public Relations