Operated by the Sc’ianew First Nation, M’i nuw’ilum DBA Cheanuh Marina has two distinct narratives that are united by a commitment to community building. Since the 1970’s the marina has been at the heart of the Beecher Bay community. As the region’s population grew, the marina expanded to include 365 berths, a gas bar, convenience store, and restaurant. The operation continues to be an important revenue-generating enterprise that provides jobs in the community while acting as a gathering place for locals and tourists alike.
The second chapter of the marina’s story emerges from Sc’ianew First Nations urgent mission to protect the marine resources that have nourished coastal peoples since time immemorial. Part proactive business development, part conservation, and part reconciliation, the Nation has taken the lead on several partnerships to enhance marine shipping safety in the Salish Sea and establish a spill response base at Beecher Bay. Early construction commenced in 2020 with a spill response base that will significantly lower spill response times for the local area. Continued partnerships bring a fleet of spill response vessels, including tugs used for escort towage that have been honoured with the names of two elders of the Sc’ianew community.
Warrior Plumbing, a fully owned and operated Indigenous mechanical contracting company located in North Vancouver, has provided residential builders, developers and homeowner customers with turn-key plumbing, gas fitting and HVAC solutions across Greater Vancouver. Offering decades of combined expertise, Warrior gives its customers peace of mind through the design and installation of new mechanical systems, in-depth application, and technical services. Warrior’s track record of providing modern, sustainable, cost-efficient mechanical systems is second to none.
Attracting young Indigenous workers to the mechanical contracting profession is key driver for Warrior. The company offers a training program giving new staff an opportunity to gain the education and skills required to obtain their Red Seal certification and a well-paying career in the trades. Warrior is aligned with various causes the company believes in and prioritizes helping people within the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation ensuring its members stay safe and comfortable.
Andrea Cranmer and her sister Donna Cranmer are the owners of Culture Shock Life. Founded on a solid foundation of respect for ancestry and tradition, the gallery is 100% First Nations owned and operated and is deeply rooted in the rich traditions of the ‘Namgis people. Located in Alert Bay, Culture Shock is an important cultural ‘hub’ of the community, selling a range of exquisite and affordable Indigenous designed and produced jewellery and wearable art while showcasing the award-winning films of its late co-founder (and sister to Andrea and Donna) Barb Cranmer.
Supporting and developing Indigenous artists and craftspeople drives the unique business of Culture Shock which also operates an intimate café welcoming and enabling visitors and locals to interact with the owners, staff and each other. Culture Shock creates the space for the understanding and sharing of Indigenous knowledge with all who visit, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, and with those who live in the area.
dk Architecture, owned by David Kitazaki (Xaxl’ip), specializes in First Nations architecture. A client services-oriented business model ensures needs are translated into buildings that are sustainable with minimized operational costs and constructed within budget. dk Architecture’s goal is to assist First Nations with their cultural revival while providing a built environment that reflects each community’s unique identity.
A socially responsible firm, dk Architecture believes buildings influence people’s lives and people influence the design of buildings. Taking a holistic approach to design, dk Architecture is accountable for the impact of their work on people and the environment. Its success is built on trust, developing long term relationships, and completing projects that meet and exceed client goals. dk Architecture’s innovative designs take the vision of the community together with an understanding of how Indigenous communities utilize building spaces to create beautiful culturally and sustainably informed spaces.
Dark Arc Welding Inc. is a family-owned and operated business led by Dustin and Ashley Kucher. As owner-operators, they lead a strong team with a diverse suite of services and have recently established their business location in Dawson Creek. With a mission to deliver premier service while maintaining the highest level of safety, environment, and quality, Dark Arc Welding is recognized as a reliable business partner throughout the region.
The company engages local First Nations when they have staffing requirements offering hands on mentorship and training. Dustin still welds when needed while leading the management and dispatching of their crews. Ashley directs all company administrative matters and with a current staff of 34, they anticipate continuous growth in the coming months.
Sasuchan Development Corporation creates business opportunities for the benefit of Takla Nation members. Since its inception, it has delivered on its mission to create economic wealth, inspiring careers, sustainable employment, and business opportunities, as well as conduct all operations in a manner that respects Takla’s land, people, culture, and way of life.
Driven by its respect for the land, environment, and Takla members, Sasuchan Development Corporation set a goal to build a diverse, profitable, and sustainable portfolio of businesses, both within and outside Takla’s territory. Over the past five years, a number of successful business ventures in forestry and silviculture, mining, and real estate have met with success. With these ventures, Sasuchan Development Corporation has supported its Nation in achieving economic self-reliance, and related social and community goals, and actively facilitated prosperity for Takla Nation.
A collaborative leader, Chief David Jimmie lends his expertise to establish growth opportunities while serving his community and the organizations which sustain it. He is Chief and CEO of Squiala First Nation, President of the Stó:lō Nation Chiefs Council and President of Ts’elxweyéqw Tribe Management Limited. He also serves as Chair and Vice President of Finance for the Western Indigenous Pipeline Group and is the owner / operator as a licensed residential builder of DJC (DJimmie Construction). Before David was first elected Chief in 2009, DJC built 224 homes and 175 apartment units for communities in Chilliwack and Westbank. DJC is currently building 309 townhouse units and a 200-unit condo project at Base 10 in Chilliwack plus 108 townhouse units and a 215-unit condo project at Shelter Bay in Westbank. Chief Jimmie’s ability to forge relationships and bridge the gap between groups has created economic spinoffs and partnerships that have been valuable for each of the organizations he works with to diversify revenue streams.
With a Master in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University, Chief Jimmie’s efforts focus on creating partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups. His traditional name, Lenéx wí :ót, meaning “One who works for the people”, embodies his leadership philosophy as he believes strong relationships are key to creating capacity for his people.
Chief Jimmie is a board member of the Chilliwack Hospital Foundation, the Sts’ailes Development Corporation and Tourism Chilliwack. He has served as co-chair of the AFN National Committee on Fiscal Relations with Canada, the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce, and the board of New Relationship Trust. Chief Jimmie’s commitment to inclusivity reflects his intent to unite the Indigenous and non-Indigenous worlds. A changemaker who leads by example, Chief Jimmie is an inspiration and mentor to everyone he aims to serve.
As a young entrepreneur, Erica Ryan-Gagné identified the need for nail care services in the area of Skidegate. With a clear vision, she left the island to complete her education in esthetic services and upon her return successfully launched Eri-Cut & Nailed, a home-based nail care business. Erica currently provides services to over 200 clients and is planning an expansion to her salon, which is scheduled to open in March, 2012.
The Gitmaxmak‘ay Nisga’a Economic Development Corporation (GNEDC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Society (GNS), a non-profit organization responsible for delivering language and culture revitalization programs for the approximately 1600 Nisga’a citizens living in Prince Rupert. GNEDC operates a portfolio of businesses including a garden centre, floral studio, fish & chips food truck, convenience store and has plans to open a café and a commercial salmon smokehouse. Since its creation in 2013, the GNEDC has grown from four employees to thirty-two and from just under $200,000 in annual revenue to more than $1.2 million. In Fall 2020, the GNEDC began operations of a state-of-the-art hydroponics greenhouse, offering a fresh greens subscription box to the community and donating the surplus harvest to Nisga’a elders on a weekly basis. GNEDC considers itself to be a quadruple bottom line business, meaning performance is judged not by just the financial outcomes, but also the social, environmental, and cultural dimensions.