Giizhigat Maple Products: Sharing The Sweetness of Indigenous 

Giizhigat Maple Products: Sharing The Sweetness of Indigenous   

Giizhigat Maple Products is a First Nation-owned and operated brand by the husband-and-wife team, Isaac Day and Deborah Aaron. Isaac is Anishinaabe (Ojibway) from Serpent River First Nation, and Deborah is Kanyen’ keha’:ka (Mohawk) from Six Nations of the Grand River.

Giizhigat is an Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) word that means Day (gee-jaa-gut). It was Isaac’s original family name before being translated into English years ago by government agents. 

When Isaac and Deborah bought a farm on St. Joseph Island in the Great Lakes region of Ontario, they noticed the abundance of maple trees on the property, which could open new opportunities. So they began researching maple syrup and learning to prepare it. Their neighbor, who was in the maple syrup industry, also guided them about the maple preparation. In 2015 they put all this studying into practice to start their business. 

Today, they have grown into a business with about 3000 taps on the property. As a part of their growth, Isaac and Deborah intend to set aside roughly 50 trees for the traditional sap collection method.

Family Operated Brand

As a First Nation family-owned and operated business situated on beautiful St. Joseph Island, they craft the finest quality 100% pure maple syrup. Their products include maple syrup, maple butter, maple candies, and maple sugar products. 

In addition, they also have an extensive line of products that consist of T-shirts and greeting cards, hand-crafted Native American jewelry, gift baskets, dreamcatchers, wooden bowls, and paintings.

Their long-term vision for the company is to reinvest profits to build a teaching lodge. They already have a non-profit called “Rainbow Thunder Mountain Star,” which is a place where all are welcome to learn the Universal Star Lodge Teachings that Isaac has been gifted to carry. 

It is a place for all to learn how to reconnect with Mother Earth and how to live in harmony through traditional knowledge. It is this vision that the founders have planned as the legacy and success story of Giizhigat Maple Products.

Family Maple Story 

When Isaac and Deborah purchased the farm, they had no intention of beginning a venture in maple syrup. But they couldn’t stop seeing the potential the farm presented. So today, they are enjoying their business operation of making maple syrup on their farm on St. Joseph Island. 

Deborah and Isaac’s families have been producing maple syrup products for generations. When the duo began their business in their current home on the Six Nations side of the Grand River, they started with about 25 maple trees. The family shares memories of collecting the sap and boiling it all day outside while sharing stories, laughter, and meals cooked over the fire. Hence, Giizhigat Maple Products (GMP) is a brand grown out of family traditions.

Deborah’s mother recalled helping her uncle gather sap and transport the syrup from the bush on a sizable stone canoe drawn by a horse. Deborah’s father also has stories of his grandmother gathering and boiling maple sap in a huge cast iron kettle.

As a little child, Isaac remembers helping his grandfather make maple syrup. First, each family would have their area to tap into. Then, his grandfather would cut a gash in the tree with an axe. The sap would trickle down a handcrafted wooden trough and into a basket made of birch bark. Isaac recalled the Elders constructing a makeshift shelter from saplings and wrapping the sides and roof with balsam branches. All through the night, the sap would boil inside a big cast iron kettle. 

Giizhigat Maple Products is 100% Indigenous, and they share a passion and love for producing and consuming maple syrup by bringing it to your tables. To know more about their products, visit their website at  

Indigenous businesses derive from family and community traditions. To read more about these inspiring businesses, subscribe to Indigenous SME Business Magazine and for the latest updates, check our Twitter page @IndigenousSme.

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