Your Way Together
Co-operatives are a unique way to do business that offers Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs the power to meet their own needs and aspirations.
In these FREE one-hour webinars, we’ll introduce you to co-operatives, how cooperatives have been used in a variety of industries in Canada, and what challenges or opportunities exist for Indigenous co-op entrepreneurs. Sign up for the Your Way Together newsletter today and stay up-to-date on all the upcoming webinar topics and expert panellists.
Regional Synergies Webinar Series
In this discussion series, Co-operatives First speaks with business and community leaders that have formed regional partnerships. In particular, we explore rural and Indigenous partnerships across western Canada. The goal is to discover how members of neighbouring communities come together to share resources, knowledge, and a vision to create opportunities where not only the individual community, but the region can share in the benefits of working together.
Episode 1: South Island Prosperity Partnership
For the first webinar in the series, we sat down with leaders from South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP). SIPP is an alliance of over 70 public and private-sector partners in Greater Victoria, including 11 local governments, nine First Nations, three post-secondary institutions, nine industry associations and nonprofits, and more than 30 major employers. SIPP’s goal is to bolster the region’s economic and social prosperity. To do this, they create high-quality, household-sustaining jobs, so that more families can afford to live, work and build a life in the region.
The webinar took place on December 8th, 2021.
Episode 2: Prince Albert Regional Economic Development Alliance
Prince Albert Saskatchewan, known as the Gateway to the North, has a long history with Indigenous communities, not only in the vicinity but to communities throughout Northern Saskatchewan. Through a partnership to generate economic activity, the City of Prince Albert and Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation have built a relationship and continue to create business opportunities that are mutually beneficial.
Please enjoy this discussion with Gary Merasty, CEO of Peter Ballantyne Group of Companies and Ashley Charles, CEO of the Prince Albert Regional Economic Development Alliance and learn what opportunities the partnership is creating and how they approach relationship building.
Regional Synergies Episode 3: Beyond the land acknowledgment
In the spring of 2022, the BC Craft Farmers Co-operative and Retail Cannabis Council of BC hosted the inaugural BC Cannabis Summit in Kelowna. With the intent of showing respect for the Indigenous territory, the event’s planning committee approached Moccasin Trails Tourism and Consulting to ensure the summit featured meaningful opportunities for Indigenous participation throughout the three-day agenda and to showcase the great work Indigenous communities are developing with cannabis.
From this experience, both organizations found mutually beneficial opportunities that went from a one-off event to an ongoing partnership that continues to shape the cannabis industry in British Columbia.
In this session of our Regional Synergies webinar series, our guests David Hurford from the BC Craft Farmers Co-operative and Greg Hopf from the Moccasin Trails Tourism and Consulting provided an overview of their learning opportunities, teachable moments, and ongoing partnership.
River Select Fisheries Co-operative
First Nations fisheries in BC realised that by forming a co-operative, they could harvest salmon sustainably, create efficiencies, and compete with large-scale industrial fisheries. They created River Select, a co-op that consists of fisheries from eight First Nations. The co-op streamlines processing and marketing for its members, which allows them to focus on doing what they do best – fish. In this webinar, brought in partnership with Cando and Innovate BC, River Select General Manager Dave Moore talked about how the co-op benefits its members and communities, how it makes decisions, and its plans for the future.
Importance of Indigenous Women and Languages
The role of Indigenous women and languages in communities, historically and currently, is critical to community health and well-being. From oral history to the documented records of newcomers, key partnerships were established to ensure the longevity of families and Nations.
This webinar will highlight the contribution of women to traditional and modern economies to further our understanding of sustainable economic development. Colonization, including the Indian Act, has significantly impacted Indigenous women’s roles in terms of economic development. However, Indigenous peoples working together are resilient and collaborate in successful economic roles across the country to create prosperous healthy families and communities. Join Trista as we welcome Charlotte Ross back for this discussion on the Importance of Indigenous Women and Languages.
Co-ops as a Tool for Economic Reconciliation
Economic reconciliation is much more than the creation of wealth. It encompasses many concepts that are important to the well-being of a community.
Indigenous Relations Lead Trista Pewapisconias and her guests Dr. Priscilla Settee and Dr. Kathy Walker lead a discussion on how co-ops and social economies provide effective development models for Indigenous communities. They discuss what economic reconciliation is, how it’s affected by government policies, and its impact on Indigenous communities.
This webinar took place June 28th, 2022. Watch it below.
What is a co-op and why should I care?
If you are like most people, you probably stay awake at night wondering: what makes a co-op work and how can I start one? Just kidding, a co-op maybe hasn’t crossed your mind let alone kept you up at night. So, why should you start caring now? The answer is because the model has been used by someone like you to do some cool things in communities – some of them just like yours – throughout the world. In fact, globally almost one billion people are members of over three million co-ops. That’s a lot! You should learn more about them.
And understanding the model is for more than those starting a co-op. Professionals, like bankers, lawyers, and economic developers, should know something about the model too. The benefits for entrepreneurs, communities, and businesses are significant and should not be overlooked. And the professionals working with them should understand the options available to their clients.
Watch this one-hour webinar on co-ops and the creative ways businesses, entrepreneurs, and communities have used the model. Plus, get answers to frequently asked questions, like: are all co-ops gas stations, grocery stores or credit unions? Are all co-ops’ non-profits? Who are the owners and decision-makers? And any other burning questions you might have about co-operatives. Let us answer them (so that you get a good sleep at night).
This webinar took place on March 24th, 2022.
Reconciling our history
In this session, you will learn about the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada and how the impact of contact with a new economic worldview affected the roles within Indigenous communities. We will explore wahkotowin or relationships as a foundation to building community and co-operation within communities. When one considers the impact of Indian residential schools on families and communities, there is much to reconcile to work on building a brighter and healthier future for all citizens. By embracing our strong and resilient history, we can work together to build a stronger tomorrow. We can impact change in our families, communities and workplaces by opening our hearts and minds to reconciling our past history.
About Charlotte Ross
I am a registered band member of Montreal Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. I love working with our communities, building capacity, and empowering all people with the true history of our past while working towards a brighter and healthier future. I am a third year Ph.D. student at the University of Victoria specializing in Indigenous Language Revitalization. I am a speaker, reader and writer of the Cree language, Woodland TH-dialect, and have taught university courses using materials written in the Plains Cree Y-dialect. I assist my First Nation with developing Cree language materials along with other fluent speakers and am part of a team that developed and continues to update the Circle of Indigenous Languages website (https://indigenouslanguage.ca/). The website includes categorized recordings and opportunities to connect with language mentors. Over the past three years, I have provided support for 27 Mentor Apprentice Teams across Saskatchewan to work on their language proficiency in Cree and Saulteaux. I have experience as a Board member for the Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network and for the Montreal Lake Business Ventures Inc.
This webinar took place January 27, 2022.
Business collaborations as cooperatives
On November 25, 2021, Tom Kerrivan from My Jasper Weddings shared their origin story with us. During the lockdowns from the Covid-19 pandemic, the events and wedding industry took a major hit. In this webinar, Tom provides insights on how in the midst of the pandemic, independent vendors in the events industry worked together to found the first wedding co-operative.
My Jasper Weddings takes the stress out of planning, procuring, and executing gorgeous weddings for guests in the Jasper National Park. With the co-op, members have created efficiencies in administration, marketing and benefits for the members and the customer.
Indigenous Artist Cooperatives
Artisan co-operatives can take many shapes, include many different stakeholders, and be any size. But many use the model to reach larger markets as a group and reduce administrative costs.
The Ancestral Rich Treasures of Zuni (ARTZ) Cooperative is the only pueblo artist-owned and operated cooperative in New Mexico. The co-op was founded to ensure artists receive fair value for their work. It is a collective of proud Zuni artisans ranging from carvers, jewellers, metalsmiths, painters, potters, silversmiths, weavers, and woodworkers. Many thanks to Kandis Quam from the ARTZ Cooperative for joining Trista in this month’s Your Way, Together webinar!
Agriculture in Canada is a 49-billion-dollar industry, and Indigenous communities are exploring ways to participate. Farm Credit Canada’s (FCC) recent survey on Indigenous agriculture shows many communities are interested in increasing food sovereignty and security, creating new sources of revenue, providing jobs and training opportunities, and getting into value-added processing.
Besides the economic upsides to agriculture, there are substantial social and cultural opportunities to pass on knowledge and be caretakers of the land. The co-op model has a role to play in Indigenous agriculture, and this presentation will explore how the model can help communities participate in this vital industry.
Many thanks to Jesse Robson from Farm Credit Canada for joining us for this informative webinar.