Reading Time: ~3 Mins | Written By: Sydney Vardja
The rich history of Indigenous peoples spans thousands of years, and their cultures, traditions, and strength continue to shape our world deeply. Indigenous History Month provides an invaluable opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Indigenous communities from coast to coast to coast. So allow us to take this opportunity to highlight the remarkable achievements of Indigenous businesses and the success stories that have emerged.
Traditional wisdom and entrepreneurship
Indigenous communities have a deep connection to their ancestral lands, and their traditional knowledge often includes sustainable practices and innovative techniques in many aspects of life. As such, this traditional wisdom has played a large role in the emergence of successful Indigenous businesses. These businesses beautifully harmonize traditional values, cultural preservation and economic empowerment.
Indigenous entrepreneurs are some of the most innovative players in business as they blend traditional practices with modern technologies and ways of thinking. From artisan craftwork to eco-tourism, Indigenous businesses thrive no matter the sector. Carrying an impressive duality, Indigenous entrepreneurs are skilled at both preserving their cultures and contributing to current economies.
We’ve discussed Indigenous communities’ ability to contribute to current economies, but this economic empowerment doesn’t stop there. Indigenous communities are talented at creating economic resilience within their own communities too. Both creating job opportunities and generating local income, Indigenous business owners reduce poverty and improve the overall well-being of their communities. In turn, community members feel more fulfilled when they have the opportunity to support authentic brands that tell stories close to their hearts.
Moreover, Indigenous businesses will often prioritize sustainable practices and environmental protection. Many Indigenous entrepreneurs live by the concept of “seventh-generation sustainability,” decision-making that considers the long-term consequences for future generations.
Canadian Indigenous business success stories
There are a number of Indigenous businesses that have set incredible examples for the rest of us, so allow us to highlight just a few of these superstar businesses:
- Raven Reads was founded in 2017. Located in Kamloops, BC Canada the company is 100% Indigenous and woman-owned. Raven Reads respectfully helps customers around the world to bring authentic Indigenous books and giftware into their homes.
- Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada is a global leader in the marketing and development of Indigenous tourism experiences. ITAC’s members are Indigenous-owned and controlled businesses from every province and territory in the country.
- Pow Wow Pitch is a grassroots community of Indigenous entrepreneurs across Turtle Island, purpose-built to provide a safe, collaborative, supportive and empowering platform for inspiration, education, mentorship, celebration and reconciliation through entrepreneurship.
- eSupply Canada Ltd. is an online distributor of office, janitorial, and industrial supplies that serves Indigenous communities and businesses, industry, and governments, as well as the general public. The company services customers from coast to coast, shipping to communities and places of business in urban, rural, and remote locations.
Indigenous History Month provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Indigenous businesses and innovators and their incredible contributions to society. By supporting and empowering Indigenous entrepreneurs, we can help preserve their cultures, amplify their voices, promote sustainable practices and support economic empowerment within their communities. As we reflect on the successes of Indigenous businesses this June, may we continue to strive for a more equitable world.