Economic reconciliation is the best way to promote Indigenous-owned businesses and thereby aid in the upliftment of the community. In recent years the variety and quality of the products they sell have gained attention.
Social media, especially Instagram, has helped promote and advertise indigenous products to customers. These products include skin care, jewelry and clothing to services like restaurants and lodgings.
Indigenous-owned businesses are thriving, not just through the Sunday market and other festival sales. They are well-established entrepreneurs with their websites, ratings on multiple platforms, and social media fan bases, which helps them expand their reach and improve sales.
Here are five businesses and their entrepreneurs who are getting recognized for their products and the personal stories they share through it.
The five thriving Indigenous businesses
1. Skwachàys Lodge
Skwachay’s Lodge is a hotel that is making a difference.
Along with providing lodging for guests and tourists, Skwachay supports and houses indigenous artists whose works don’t get represented or get the market value they deserve.
The hotel has a street-level art gallery where 24 Indigenous artists are housed.
With cultural tourism being one of the fastest-growing tourism industries, Skwachays use its business to create a space for the urban Indigenous artists to participate in the industry and help them to reclaim their lives and independence.
A stay in Skwachays Lodge will surely be a wholesome experience.
2. Raven Reads
Raven Reads is an Indigenous literature and giftware business founded to raise awareness of indigenous history by Nicole McLaren.
The publication aims to raise the community’s collective histories and lived experiences by supporting Indigenous authors and entrepreneurs.
Each Raven Reads purchase contributes to amplifying Indigenous voices and brands, giving them a position in the economy and a chance to develop into a healthier community.
McLaren created Raven Reads to educate people worldwide about residential schools’ traumatic effect on Indigenous people in Canada.
It’s a seasonal subscription for children and adults and comes with books and gifts.
3. Moonstone Creations
Moonstone Creations is a gallery that sells various unique handicrafts by 60 Indigenous artisans, including ceremonial drums, jewelry, paintings, leatherwork, sculpture, and beadwork.
Yvonne Jobin, the founder of Moonstone, has a strong politics in beginning her venture.
She says, “I believe that by sharing the stories, history and unique methods our people used to create beautiful artifacts, we would build bridges and raise awareness and appreciation of Native American culture and the arts.”
The products in Moonstone Creations speak a story of their own.
4. Salmon n’ Bannock
Inez Cook, the owner of Salmon n’ Bannock, always knew she would be a restaurant owner to tell the stories of her ancestors.
Salmon n’ Bannock is the only Indigenous-owned and operated restaurant in Vancouver, using only authentic ingredients once prepared by the ancestors to make contemporary cuisine.
5. Satya Organic Skin Care
Necessity is the mother of inventions, and that is how the birth of Satya Organic Skin Care should be described.
When Patrice Mousseau’s daughter was diagnosed with eczema, she took to her own hands to make steroid-free soaps by reading into traditional medicines, medical research and academic articles and experimenting with organic ingredients in her kitchen.
Satya Organic Skin Care is a must-try Indigenous skin care product primarily focusing on eczema curing organic products.
Why support the Indigenous SMEs
Each indigenous small business has a story to tell, a goal to achieve and a community to support, and what they stand for makes them unique.
Community empowerment takes a front seat before personal profits. From supporting the indigenous artists, raising voices against the past cruelties through literature, passing on the cultural legacy of the First Nations to the descendants, sharing the taste of yesteryears wrapped in modern cuisine to ensuring healthy and safe skin care, there is an ethic these entrepreneurs stand for.
Many great Indigenous-owned businesses across Canada are making a difference in their communities. We encourage you to support these businesses by shopping with them and promoting them to your friends and family. By supporting Indigenous-owned businesses, we can help build a strong economy for all Canadians.