The contribution of the Ktunaxa to the economy of the region was on full display at an event this week in Cranbrook.
The 2022 Ktunaxa Business Showcase, held at the Prestige Inn on Thursday, Oct. 27, created an opportunity for Ktunaxa entrepreneurs to connect and network with regional industries, enhance their brand awareness in the community, and highlight products and services.
Over 31 Ktunaxa businesses (including artisans) were involved in the showcase, and representatives from more than a dozen regional industries came by in the morning for the networking opportunities (“speed-dating” style, according to the showcase website, at ktunaxabusinessshowcase.ca). The showcase was opened to the public in the afternoon.
The goal of the event was to connect Ktunaxa businesses, industry and government partners, and community members to each other, said Shane Stewart, Business Development Manager with the Ktunaxa Nation Council.
“The Ktunaxa Nation Council wants to show support to all Ktunaxa businesses — this is a good way of showing that support,” Stewart said. “Bringing in industries and the public to engage with those Ktunaxa businesses, and hopefully form long-term relationships and support for them.
“We’re looking at doing this every other year — that’s the plan at the moment,” he added. Putting on the inaugural event involved five months of planning, “and a lot of commitment from the economic sector of the Ktunaxa Nation Council.”
Janice Alpine, Business Development Officer with the Nation, said in her public remarks that the event aimed to demonstrate the resiliency of Ktunaxa entrepreneurs, manufacturers and artisans, and the challenges they’ve overcome to achieve success.
“It’s about the resiliency, about getting up there and having that energy, all about knowing you have something to share and you have a story to tell.”
The showcase featured a performance by Justus Cree, Sr., and Justus Cree, Sr., a father-and-son drum and dance team from Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho.
Businesses and artisans on hand included Aq’am Community Enterprises, TMM Projects, Seven Feathers Contracting and Consulting, Aq’am Flagging and Safety, Aq’am Trading, Ash Fire Wear, Indigenous View Photography Services, Cedar and Pine Design, Legend Logos, The Raven’s Nest Resort, FlexiNet Broadband, Big Chief Bussing, Rez Hounds Ventures, Jen’s Body Balm, Kettle River Contracting, Pair of Aces Drywall, Lillian Rose Consulting and Design, Nupqu (archeology, environmental, forestry, etc), Rachylu Art, Louie Litigation, Skinkuȼ Treasures, St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino, Ainsworth Hot Springs, Yaqan Nukiy Farms, Pauline Gabriel (traditional Indigenous Art), Morris Flowers, and more.