Born In Rapid lake but raised in the Parc de la Verendrye ,Marie-Cecile Kakgoosh Nottaway-wawatie but better known as her childhood name cezin, comes from a strong line of anishinabee women. From a young age, cezin has always been helping around the kitchen from cooking, preparing food and gutting wild game. She would leave her home community to relocate to the small town of Maniwaki to attend high school. For years she would work as a cook in the local community of Kitigan zibi and maniwaki. To further her schooling, she would attened Algonquin college in Ottawa and there she would be enrolled in the culinary management course and receive her diploma in 2005. Though going to school it wouldnt be an easy road as she became a mother of two and at the time her husband Westley cote was enrolled in medical school. Finally in 2011 she would create her beautiful business wawatay catering which uses traditional food that meets fine dining. The meaning behind the naming of wawatay is that she wanted to honour her ancestors which in the belief of the anishinabee people that the northern lights are the colours of the spirits that will bring us home.
Even though things in the beginning might have seem bright for Nottaway, The story of how the business is not. In the past Cezin and her husband would run into trouble with the law, though it was more of her husband she did not want this as their life as well as their children’s. From that moment they both decided to change their lives around by not consuming anymore drugs or alcohol. With that choice Westley went on to become a doctor and she would achieve her dream of owning her own business. The business itself is not just a one woman team, through out the years she would have the help from her community’s of rapid lake and Kitigan Zibi. From there She would hire people within the communities such as youth, close friends even as well as family members. The food she makes is something special, it derives from traditional anishinabee recipes she received from her family while she has put on a modern twist to it. One thing that is very special about the food is that all her food is made with fresh wild game such moose, beaver, deer etc, as well as using the communities own syrup called awazibi. Though Nottaway is sadly retiring the business soon she has achieved amazing feats such as being the winner of two awards in the 2016 Quebec ARISTA competition and the peoples choice award. From coming from a small community to having a successful business, Marie-cecile has become a role model for the youth in both kitigan zibi and rapid lake and that is something that will never end.
“This social enterprise is about empowering community and caregivers to heal and thrive.” -Chrystal Toop
Crystal is a member of the Pikawakanagan First nations and generational residential school survivor, Chrystal shares her insights as sought- after Guest speaker, Facilitator, Healing & Wellness Councilor. Chyrstal is Omamiwinini spiritual practitioner who can ground your healing journey with ritual, connection and steps. Realize teaching to build a medicine bundle, just for you.
Crystal is a Sociologist, Registered Social Services Worker, Indigenous Life Spectrum Doula, Seed Keeper, social justice work and Matriarch, wife. Lived experiences must steer her course in one way or another to connect and build community, in an effective way. Crystal has always been a kind and patient woman who has always provided me and my family with medicines and resourceful support in carrying on generational skills and support within the community she helps educate.
Blackbird Medicines offers plenty of workshop that meets all kinds of needs within the community you live. Using zoom session and email.
Blackbird Medicines utilizes community references and genealogy to ensure, confirm and promise All our caregivers are Indigenous.
Workshops like Storytelling & Writer Workshops
Mental health counselling
Healing circle facilitator
Events % Social Media Promotions
planting medicines workshops
Want to make reparations, donations to empower grassroots effort. Collaboration’s request is always welcome to…
Janna Erin Dahgwak Chegahno was born in the Wiarton hospital, 25 minutes from her home community of Neyaashiinigmiing, located on the Saugeen Peninsula, surrounded by the waters of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Janna’s career has been centred around asserting First Nation rights and jurisdiction and in particular that of her home nation of the Saugeen Ojibway. During the course of her career, Janna obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration and Governance from Ryerson University in partnership with the First Nation Technical Institute. Janna comes from a large family, has 5 children of her own, and continues to live where her ancestors have lived since time immemorial.
Janna worked for many years for her First Nation community, the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, moved on to work for her nation, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, and then moved on to work for the federal government as an Indigenous Liaison Officer/Advisor. During the course of her career, Janna has become widely known throughout the Parks Canada Agency for finding creative and effective ways of building meaningful and relationships based on respect and mutual understanding between the government agency and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation. As Janna’s success and outside-the-box methods of getting things done became known across the agency, she began to be contacted by several other agencies – government, non-government, school boards, private industry for guidance. Janna took this opportunity to start her own First Nation consulting firm that focuses on guiding the building of relationships between outside agencies and First Nation communities. Janna has asserted that the only way a relationship can exist is to have both/all parties open to understanding each other, and accepting that following a template simply does not work. Janna’s approach is blunt, skips the nonsense and tiptoeing around uncomfortable conversations and issues, and gets right to the moose in the room – in the case of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation territory, the bear. Janna’s experience working with both First Nation communities and government has enabled her to become somewhat of a “translator”, able to walk with a foot in both worlds, understanding what each party or side wants and needs but aren’t always able to articulate (Chegahno, 2021). Janna attributes a lot of her success to the strong female influences in her life, her grandmother, mother, aunties as well as the supporting men in her life that were able to step aside and let a strong Anishinaabe Kwe take the lead. Often referred to as “boss kwe” by her colleagues and mentors (Roote, 2021), Janna is the very definition of what the non-indigenous world does NOT expect when faced with a duty, or desire, to work with First Nation peoples – a petite, but oddly intimidating and almost mysterious woman, who may show up to a meeting in chic business attire or rubber boots and a t-shirt having just walked into a ditch to save a snapping turtle. Janna’s heart and spirit remains closely tied to her roots and she carries the legacy of her people on her shoulders with poise and grace, knowing that the work she does today will mean that one day those coming behind her will have an easier path to walk (Chegahno, 2021).
Fawn wood grew up on music and culture. Fawn was always singing along side her mother and father at every powwow; she was their sidekick. Around the 90s as a child, she was exposed to powwows and was first introduced to the Gathering of Nations. Fawn grew up singing the songs of the longhouse of the Fraser Valley and the berry picking songs of her mothers Stlatlimax people. In 2006 Fawn was the first female to win the Hand Drum contest at the Gathering of Nations powwow. As she got older Fawn’s fame grew, and she started singing in front of big crowds, proudly represented her family and community. Fawn sang the opening of the 11th Annual Native American music awards (NAMMYS) in 2009.( 1 )With her partner, Cree singer Dallas Waskahat, Fawn did the opening song for the televised broadcast of Manito Ahbee’s 2010 Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Through her music and singing she shares her pride and passion for the Indigenous community. (2)
Tia Wood : Indigenous singer/Influencer
Tia wood is the youngest of five siblings, including Fawn. Tia got to grew up with good influences such as Randy wood, Northern Cree, her parents and of course her older sister. Tia would sing along side her family and friends. When she became older, and the new video sharing social media “TikTok” came out. Tia used that to her advantage to share her traditions, clothing, awareness, music and uses it as a platform to educate others about the culture. Tia Wood explained she started filming just for fun, until her content started spreading.
(3) December 13th 2020, the magazine/website “Vogue” released an article about Tia, expressing how one of the videos she made called “Make it Indigenous” blew up over night, as well as her modern traditional outfits for different events that inspire Indigenous youth and educate others. “Vogue” noticed her talent and passion on the Indigenous community and because of the large number of views and likes she was getting, they said they love the Indigenous twist she puts onto “TikTok” trends. (Fashion/music/humour)
These women are so educated and talented that “Vogue” and “Spotify” has involved them into their media. You can find all Fawn woods released albums and music on “Youtube”, and “Spotify” has several her songs and an album, with a number of 19,626 monthly listeners. Tia wood has a whole article about her on “Vogue”, over 325k followers on “Instagram”, and 1.7M followers “TikTik” with an overall 29.8M likes on her account.
These two sisters continue to sing, make videos, and spread awareness. This is great for the Indigenous community because they are being recognized for their talent and passion for reconciliation. They are educating people and represng the culture at the same time.
Sunshine Quen Tenasco is the Founder at Her Braids & CEO of Pow Wow Pitch & Author of “Nibi’s Water Song. She is an Anishnabe women from Kitigan Zibi, Quebec is now known as Manawaki.
Sunshine started a Quemeez (baby moccasin business); got a deal at Dragons’ Dey. Started a Powwow pitch then Her Braids, wrote a book. She enrolled in BA in theatre, BA in English and Bed at Ottawa University. She is a water activist and wants to bring awareness for First Nations people to clean drinking water. (1)
Her Braids workshop talks about the need for clean water in First Nations communities and some of the realities First Nations face in Canada.
In Workshops, they teach Elementary students to make their own pendant. Each of the Pendant costs $29. Her braids donate 10% of the profits and it goes directly towards the David Suzuki Foundation’s Blue Dot Movement.
“The pendants serve as an educational took and “Talking Piece” to bring awareness about this important Canadian issue.” (para, 3)
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Bernice’s biography is little known, but she grew up in what was then Frobisher Bay N.W.T, now known as Iqaluit, Nunavut since it’s creation of Canada’s youngest Territory in April of 1999. It is known that Bernice has kids who are now young-adults and has a young daughter with her husband, Justin who is originally from Newfoundland. Justin and Bernice’s love story started out as one day Bernice’s daughter had an incident where she needed a cast for a broken leg. Bernice and Justin fell in love soon after that visit to the doctors, where Justin gave a ride to Bernice and her daughter. Both Bernice and Justin have been inseparable ever since. Bernice and her husband started out the home-made soap company in 2013 first as a hobby. The company soon grew to a popular small business that specializes in beauty, cosmetics and personal care (Parmar, 2020) And have gotten married and started UasaU soap, which is an Inuktuk derived from the English word for wash. The name of the company is catchy as these soaps are paving way for future and current Inuit owned and made business owners which will contribute to the Nunavut economy.
UasaU Soap Business
Bernice Clarke, An Inuk woman who is a self-made Entrepreneur who co-owns the Usasau Soap Company with her husband, Justin Clarke in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Both Bernice and Justin started making home made soaps made from all natural, ethically harvested ingredients from the Nuna (Inuktuk word for Land) such as plants and flowers in 2013 and as well as maintaining whale blubber from a whale harvest in Arviat, Nunavut. (Rohner, 2015)
Bernice and Justin both started out the company just as a hobby in which their products became popular after using natural products of the tundra’s plants and flowers which are known to have properties which are good for the everyday health of people and both continue to experiment with different varieties of products and by products to continue their growing lines of beauty and care products. Bernice and Justin both get their ingredients in an ethical way where they harvest their ingredients by community hunts in and around Nunavut and harvesting plants and flowers that have all natural qualities that have been picked by the Inuit people of Northern Canada in Canada’s youngest territory for many years used as healing agents since before colonization in Canada. The whale blubber used in their soaps are rich in Omegs-3 fatty acids and is also known to be rich in Vitamin D.
From a direct quote from the National Geography website: Not All Fat is Blubber “Blubber is different than most types of fat. Blubber is much thicker and contains many more blood vessels than the fat found in land animals, including humans. Blubber is so unique that many marine biologists don’t refer to blubber as fat at all. To them, blubber is a unique type of connective tissue between the animal’s skin and its internal organs.”
The Uasau soap company has won an Entrepreneurs Choice Award with Startup Canada in May of 2019. This company is fast-growing and the price ranges for Uasau Soap products range from $12 for a bar of soap, and my favourite Bowhead Body Blubber which are $35 and help with the dry skin that I suffer with. Shampoos and conditioners are $20 each and lip balms go for $12. You can get Uasau soap products from the following:
Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow is the founder of Birch Bark Coffee, an Ojibway man from Whitefish River First Nation located on Birch island, Ontario. Mark started off with working in construction in his early years, but he knew he wanted to do something to help others and decided it was time for a career change. (1)He moved to Ottawa and enrolled in the Correctional Worker program at Algonquin College and graduated in the Class of 1993. Marsolais – Nahwegahbow wanted to make a difference and help his people, so he spent three decades working in the criminal justice system to help reduce the over-representation of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people. (2 ) Mark Marsolais spent 18 years working in the jail system , and continued to work as several roles such as a native justice coordinator and a residential school crisis intervention counsellors for indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.
Birch Bark Coffee was established in March 2018 and is proud to maintain the title as an organic and fair trade, SPP (Small Producers) certified coffee.(1) Mark’s mission for his coffee business is to help change indigenous lives across Canada, for every 100 bags sold in retail, or every 50 bags sold through Birch Bark’s website, one water purification system is purchased and given to a household in need. The first installation began at Algonquins of Pikwakanagans First Nation in December 2018.(2) Mark wants to ensure to provide water in every indigenous home suffering from unsafe drinking water for free.
Mark was inspired by his community and explained how Birch trees have a connection with the indigenous heritage. Birch trees have been used to centuries because of the diverse ways of usage, such as transporting foods, medicine, paper, canoes and crafts. (1)
Mark believes “water is a fundamental human right” and wants to help provide support to his people with his company Birch Bark Coffee. Mark hopes to inspire young aspiring entrepreneurs to take in interest in the Global shift in social enterprise and to become a new movement in business for social change.(1)
I am Writing About Darin Corbiere his business name is Corbyartwork. He was born and raised in Wikwemikong First Nation, located on Manitoulin Island. His clan is bear and his Anishinaabe name is Waabi makoohs which means little white bear, and he is Odawa tribe. Formal police officer for the OPP, and Wikwemikong Tribal Police Service. Darin also was a teacher for White Pine Collegiate and Vocational high school and was a teacher for Sault college. He was teaching native studies and Anishnaabe language. He also is a writer and write about traditional stories, which was pass on to him by his grandmother, and write them in novel form. Darin move to Prince George B.C. a year and half ago and open up his Art studio which is called Corbyartwork.
Darin entrepreneur business started in November 2015, when Darin wanted to make a table for wife. He pick up a piece of white ash wood and saw a few images on the piece wood, and the images he saw was a long neck of a bear and then he flip over the piece wood and saw a wolf on the other side of the wood. So the piece of art work he did was almost like a self portrait of his wife. That how Darin Corbiere entrepreneur business started. Darin artwork is medicine to many people and to Darin Corbiere, 52, discovered this reality into which he has a profound emotional and spiritual connection.
Cheekbone Beauty is a Canadian based company established in 2016, created and owned by Jenn Harper an Anishinaabe woman. Jenn was born in Thunder Bay Ontario but would later move to the Niagara region with her Caucasian mother. Growing up Jenn struggled with her Anishinaabe background in most of her childhood and adult life. It wasn’t until Jenn discovered that her grandmother went to residential school and started to reconnect with for family and accept that she understand her culture. (3)
Growing up Jenn had always had a passion for makeup, and even in a job interview question where they asked her about her dream is; Jenn replied: “to be a CEO of a major cosmetic brand.”(CBC Interview with Jaydon Flett/Lipstick with a cause). Jenn’s ideal for Cheekbone Beauty came to her in a dream; where she saw two young girls playing with lip gloss, and she felt happy. This is the unusual unravelling of the start of a cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, beautiful community that also gave back to the Ingenious community.(1)
In the beginning development of Cheekbone Beauty, Jenn made sure to do research for the industry and for charity to help with Indigenous youth and the education gap. In an interview with Jaydon Flett from CBC, she even said, “my huge big dream, was to create scholarships in my grandmother’s name, Emily Paul, who was a residential school survivor”(5:33 in the podcast )(1) . Also, 10% of all of Cheekbone Beauty’s profit goes towards Shannen’s Dream, which is the Canadian movement for equality for First Nations education funding. (2)
Cheekbone Beauty was originally to be started in September 2016 but had to be postponed to the tragedy of her brother B.J. suicide. Growing up they hadn’t been really close due to the fact he lived with her father as she was living with her mother, but when later in life they reunited they grew pretty close. His death took a huge toll on her and the family Jenn remembered when her brother told her “Jenn our youth need hope and what you are doing is going to be great,'” said Harper. “Those words run through my mind literally every day” (1) Jenn Harper CBC). This gave Jenn hope and determination to continue her dream and she want to her company not to be just as a cosmetic company, but something more and she references a quote by Seth Godin for the ideal of her company:”Great companies make the change for a living”. (1)
Its pretty evident that Jenn wants to close the education gap that Indigenous youth, experience and to see that all Indigenous youth commonly go to high schools, universities, and colleges to learn about entrepreneurship, to educate people about First Nations struggles, residential schools, and help motivate students.(3) Jenn was also awarded in 2017 the “Social Enterprise Award” at the 17th Annual Women in Business Awards by the Women in Niagara. (3)
As Jenn’s company was popularized on the iconic show Dragons Den, and CBC news she still strives to achieve her goals, and has up coming ideas for the company. Quoting from the Cheekbone Beauty website, she states “Jenn’s Cheekbone Beauty is launching a less-waste line of lipsticks later in 2020, with zero-waste goals for 2023. Cheekbone’s aim is to not only make a difference in the lives of Indigenous youth through our donations addressing the educational funding gap. ” (4) Jenn is still socially active with her company and is doing her best to help the First Nations people’s education gap, with her involvement and to help people artistically express themselves through the beauty of makeup.
The story of Manitobah Mukluks products made in from Winnipeg, Canada. Sean McCormick’s company owns from Manitobah Mukluks. Moccassins have handcrafted by elders and artisans in Indigenous communities. People can be made their beads through moccassins styles. A business owner can create moccassins to sell or made. There have many moccassins over the world. Non- Indigenous or Indigenous people who love moccassins and more comfortable. Moccassins and Mukluks have a rich history of the 1630s. About the 1990s, a small trading post was opened in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Later, the trading post has lots of moccassins in everywhere in Canada and the USA. Mukluks are worn during the spring or winter months depend on to provide warmth. there have a variety of colour options and styles. The easy way to do a fix to turn mukluks inside out and take a piece of leather scrap, cut it around the patch and use glue it on. the best way is glue better than sewing and there are no lumps to deal with. It is smooth and good looks at it. The future prospects still keep running the company as long as he still owns a company.