How I went from being disconnected from my heritage to helping thousands of people learn, celebrate, and connect with the indigenous culture.

Before there was a growing online business. Before the YouTube channel. Before speaking on a national stage…there was a shy, “rez girl” chasing the corporate city life.

  • Unsure of what I really wanted.
  • Living at arm’s length from my indigenous identity.
  • Desperate for acceptance from my non-native friends. 
  • Continually waiting on the next stage of life to make me happy.

My childhood was filled with so much quality time spent with immediate and extended family in Curve Lake First Nation. 

Traveling to pow wows with my gran and my cousins, and camping trips on the island with late night stories around the fire - kept me close to my native heritage. 

After I moved away from my home community, to attend Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, I found myself living in two completely different worlds. 

The fast-paced, capitalistic world and the nostalgic world of my home community. 

This left me not fitting in in either place… feeling completely misplaced, and alone. 

The only way to cope with the overwhelming unattachment was to immerse myself in my schooling and career endeavors, to the point where it became an obsession. 

I wanted to start a business upon graduation but had no idea what it would look like…

But it didn’t start out so easy.

My first business involved making pow wow regalia. 

Then I tried graphic and web design.

Then I tried business consulting.

With each venture, I was crippled with self-doubt, saying yes to every project, which lead to extreme overwhelm, followed by giving up and getting a ‘real job’. 

Each new JOB I took left me feeling unmotivated, and unfulfilled - with my gut screaming at me that I was destined for something more. 

Being the first indigenous student in my business program, many of my friends, classmates, even teachers asked me:

why does the government pay for my education?

if my family lives in a tipi?

why I spoke English instead of my native language?

if I was a real Indian, then why did I dress like a white person?

As I spent more time answering these questions, it brought me closer to our beautiful heritage and reignited my sense of pride in who I was as an Anishinaabe-kwe.

I realized how important it was for me to share our amazing culture, knowledge, and teachings with the world.

My friends and acquaintances wanted to learn more about the indigenous culture, and support native artists, but it was very difficult to access the knowledge, teachings, and native giftware away from a First Nation.

In 2013, started as an online store, with a fast-growing blog on indigenous teachings, and a brick and mortar store in Curve Lake.

I wish I could tell you it was smooth sailing from there…

There were several years of missteps, expensive mistakes, and feelings of not-enoughness.

I had a business degree, my very own start-up, a supportive family, good health… why wasn’t I happy??

So, I decided to take the empty feelings and questions

- and try to do something about it.

I started reading as much as I could about happiness, personal growth, mindset, focus, habits, anything that could help get me out of that dark place.

After reading and listening to about 15 different books on these topics, what I realized was that the answers were right in front of me.

Our indigenous teachings covered all of these same topics, and there was an incredible amount of overlap that I wasn’t aware of until learning these new tools, and practices for living a balanced, happy life.

The transformation was absolutely life-changing, and there was and still is so much more to learn about taking back your personal power - control over your happiness.

This journey that I have been on, to be able to support others on their journey to re-connection and happiness is the greatest honor.

Feeling connected with who you are, and who you want to be will transform your life.

Our mission is to connect tribal people, being indigenous or non-indigenous, as they continue to learn and celebrate their connection to their heritage

If you were to ask who we are in 3 words, my answer would be...

1. Indigenous

Specifically, we are primarily members of the Anishnaabek nation of Curve Lake First Nation, but our team consists of a diverse group from the Iroquois, and Cree nations as well.

2. Contemporary

We are a young team of passionate, creative people who represent new thinking - with a mindset that anything is possible if you’re crazy enough to try

3. Inclusive

As our traditional teachings have taught us, all nations on mother earth are equally connected to the creator, we have open arms and love for YOU no matter where you come from, or how you choose to be happy

We talk a lot about ‘connecting tribes’ as what we’re trying to do at Tribal Trade. But what does that even mean?

There are tribal people that are living across Turtle Island (North America) who feel a significant need to connect with their heritage, who they are, and with each other.

We are inclusive to all, meaning we don’t measure what percentage of lineage you have or how much ancestral native you are. If we can support you in your journey of feeling connected by learning and celebrating the indigenous culture - therefore growing as a human being - then we’ve done our job.