Blackfoot Confederacy Entrepreneur Steering Committee launches in 2022

Apr 6, 2022 News

Press Release

Blackfoot Confederacy Entrepreneur Steering Committee launches in 2022

A network to support the economic sovereignty of Blackfoot business owners.

Blackfoot Territory – ALBERTA, March 27, 2022 : The Blackfoot Confederacy Tribal Council is comprised of the following Nations:  Piikani, Blood Tribe/Kainai, Siksika, and Amskapi Piikani.  The Blackfoot Confederacy Tribal Council is pleased to announce the launch of the Blackfoot Confederacy Entrepreneurs Steering Committee (BCESC).  The BCESC will create a formalized independent network of Blackfoot business owners to promote business linkages, opportunities for growth and development.  As Blackfoot Confederacy Territory includes both Canada and United States of America, economic opportunities will reflect international collaboration.  

Blackfoot Confederacy Tribal Council President Chief Stan Grier – Kiaayo Tamisoowa is very proud of the Blackfoot Entrepreneur Steering Committee, as they engage and work with all Blackfoot Entrepreneurs and business owners in Blackfoot Territory. 

The BCESC is comprised of the following members: Stephen Big Swan (Piikani), Karli Crowshoe (Piikani), Joshua Day Chief (Blood Tribe), Steven Vaivada (Blood Tribe), Philip Soop (alternate-Blood Tribe), Jeanette Many Guns (Siksika), Lailani Upham (Amskapi Piikani), and Clarence Smith (Amskapi Piikani). The purpose of the committee is to build a shared understanding of current issues affecting Blackfoot entrepreneurs and share knowledge, benefits, awareness of available programs, services, and research initiatives to assist Blackfoot entrepreneurs.

Jack Royal, Blackfoot Confederacy CEO is very pleased to welcome the inaugural Blackfoot Confederacy Entrepreneur Steering Committee to help guide and support the development of a network that promotes economic sovereignty of Blackfoot business owners.

For more information please contact:  Kimmy Houle, Blackfoot Confederacy Tribal Council [email protected]

Blackfoot Confederacy Entrepreneur Steering Committee members and their businesses are as follows:

Stephen Big Swan (Piikani), Swan Electric Ltd., located in Southern Alberta. He is actively involved in the residential construction industry and has been since 2001. Big Swan received an Electrical Journeyman and Red Seal certification in 2006 and Master’s certification in 2009. Big Swan launched his business as an Electrical Contractor in 2010. Outside of work, he enjoys raising his children, spending time with friends and family, playing guitar, entrepreneurship things, and fishing.

Karli Crowshoe, (Piikani), The Chiefs Daughter “Creations for the Generations,” was born out of a love for pow wow dancing and she strives to revive and promote traditional stories and an oral culture through precise beadwork. Crowshoe is a mother, creator, dancer, and ceremonialist from the Piikani Nation and possess Nez Peace roots. Karli credits her grandfather and her family legacy as a guiding force for her creations, marrying Niitsitapii ways of knowing with the modern indigenous lifestyle. Crowshoe is a strong advocate for working mothers and creating spaces for Indigenous women in the work field. 

Joshua Day Chief (Blood Tribe/Kainai), AdvancedAg Inc., is an family-owned indigenous company producing beneficial blends of bacteria for water and soil health in Raymond. Day Chief, CEO led research projects, studied and marketed a bacteria-based product for agriculture before launching his business. Day Chief’s passion is to be a leader in environmental solutions, innovation and education. Aside from Day Chief business life he advises and mentors other entrepreneurs in southern Alberta. He is currently working with Economic Development Lethbridge (Tecconnect) as a business advisor, with a focus on start ups for businesses involved in agriculture and Indigenous owned companies. Day Chief was recently awarded an Honouring Excellence – Rising Star alumni award in 2020 from Lethbridge College and is now a member of the Board of Governors for the post secondary institution. Day Chief has also received an alumni achievement award from the Canadian Environmental Technology Advancement Corporation in 2018.

Steven Vaivada, (Blood Tribe/Kainai) P.Eng., Scout Engineering and Consulting Ltd. and Scout Hydrovac. Scout Engineering was the first company in Canada to identify the systemic issues that lead to boil water advisories and premature infrastructure failure in First Nations. Scout Hydrovac provides daylighting and utility locate services across Western Canada. Vaivada, president of both his companies and Director and Indigenous Collaboration Lead for the C2C2C Unity Corridor Foundation, a grassroots organization that is building Indigenous, Industry, and Public support to develop a National infrastructure corridor framework that would enable $200B pluss in investment and development across Canada.

Phil Soop, (Blood Tribe/Kainai), Spotted Eagle Contracting Inc., is a transportation company serving industrial and tourism charter buses and shuttles in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Soop is Spotted Eagle Contracting Vice-President and formerly operations manager, he also headed the Spotted Eagles tourism and charter division and continued development of strategic reseller and client relationships, ensuring flexibility in response to an increasingly demanding marketplace. Soop earned his solo pilot’s license while studying at the University of Lethbridge working towards a bachelor of management degree. 

Jeanette Many Guns (Siksika), Many Guns Ranch an Adventures, is a service that has been offering trail rides, wagon rides and teepee lodging for over 20 years. Many Guns, a fluent Blackfoot language speaker is filmmaker and Blackfoot historian who has known to speak deeply about her community and tribal history. Her vision to have guests experience and learn the history of some of the Blackfoot historical sites in close proximity to Bow River and spectacular badlands on Siksika Nation. Many Guns homage of teaching history and culture inspired her to move into filmmaking. In 2015, Many Guns began creating educational films about Siksika and a series of the Blackfoot language; she also included films about Blackfoot legends and stories.

Lailani Upham (Amskapi Piikani), Iron Shield Creative LLC, a consultancy based on the Blackfeet Reservation that fosters our natural world and human connection through indigenous storytelling in Montana, Upham is an adventure explorer, photographer, filmmaker, and writer, and storyteller who travels across the state to share stories from an indigenous perspective. Upham works to capture stories that inspire people of all walks of life to consider their relationship with nature, while advocating for the preservation indigenous history, stories, and tribal lands through outdoor workshops. She grew up exploring her ancestral home landscapes and was grounded in identity through the passing down of oral traditions from her Amskapi Piikani, A’aninin, Dakota and Nakoda elders. Upham has worked both feature length and short films, reported for a tribal newspaper and national publications, taught tribal-based story video and writing, and native study courses at a tribal colleges. Upham has a B.A. in Business Entrepreneurship from Salish Kootenai College and studied undergraduate photojournalism and environmental science and natural resources journalism graduate studies at the University of Montana.

Clarence Smith (Amskapi Piikani), Dreamcatcher Carpet Cleaning is the only indigenous owned carpet cleaning company in the Denver, Colorado metro area; and Chief Mountain Coffee, one of a few indigenous grown coffee company in the United States. Smith believes in encouraging Native entrepreneurship that is grounded in identity in traditional values that can navigate the current business world. His vision is to gather useful knowledge to share with other indigenous entrepreneurs. Smith has an undergraduate degree in International Business and Relations from Fort Lewis College; a Master of Arts degree in Marketing of Forest Products from the University of Washington. He has been published in Journal of Forestry-Washington.