October 18, 2023

tumtum – Kickstarting the Decolonization of Textile Manufacturing

Introducing tumtum! Indigenous artist Bruce Alfred and daughter Molly Willie are from the ‘Namgis First Nation in ‘Yalis (Alert Bay). Together they have started tumtum threads to help to keep traditional Indigenous art, design and production within their home and partner communities, building capacity for economic resilience. tumtum offers handwoven products created through the collaboration of First Nations families from the Kwakwaka’wakw in the Pacific Northwest of Canada, working in partnership with Zapotec (Bën za) families in the Central Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. Our products are designed AND manufactured by Indigenous peoples in their communities, at a time when the majority of Northwest indigenous designs are manufactured overseas in large scale factories… our goal is to change that, while bringing positive change to our communities. When you purchase tumtum designs you are supporting Indigenous art that is connected by two different nations.

Lenapehoking – 1609 NYC Timewalk – A “New” Perspective

In 1609, our Lenape ancestors inhabited the lands that would later be called Lenapehoking. During this time, Henry Hudson, an English explorer, embarked on a voyage seeking a northwest passage to Asia. Our Lenape ancestors were living in harmony with the land, following age-old traditions and maintaining a deep connection to the earth. The arrival of Hudson and his crew brought about initial interactions, marked by attempts at communication and trade. However, it’s important to recognize that Hudson’s arrival and the subsequent European colonization dramatically impacted the Lenape and other indigenous peoples. The consequences of European contact included loss of land, introduction of diseases, and changes to our traditional ways of life. The arrival of European settlers like Hudson marked the beginning of a complex and often tragic chapter in our history, one that forever altered the lives and futures of indigenous peoples throughout Lenapehoking and beyond.

DEYEN – An Invitation to Transform

Deyen is the Tsilhqot’in word for “person with the power to transform.”  It is believed by some Tsilhqot’in Knowledge Keepers that everyone is a Deyen. It is just a matter of taking the time and space to explore and uncover the Deyen inside of you. Traditionally in the Tsilhqot’in communities, Deyens were seen as wise and powerful people.  They were consulted with some of the community’s most complex matters and were able to “transform” the situation to something positive.  Deyen’s also traditionally had the power to transform their own shape. For example, a Deyen will transform themselves from human form to a raven to allow them to fly out of danger if needed.

This one-of-a-kind, unique, online learning hub shares the traditional knowledge, wisdom, worldviews, and lived experiences of Indigenous women on the lands often referred to as Canada.  The decision was made to call the learning hub Deyen to invite Canadians to look inside themselves and uncover their own powers (or Deyen) to provide a pathway through the guidance of Indigenous women, the original Matriarchs and Knowledge Keepers of these lands, and to transform perceptions, thought-processes, and assumptions about Indigenous Peoples.  

It is a courageous journey to reclaim your Deyen and transform deeply entrenched values, thoughts, and beliefs that have existed for generations and continue to be perpetuated by the dominant narrative. One of the most powerful things an individual can do in life is to uncover their Deyen and accept the invitation to transform.  When this happens, the opportunity for better relationships to exist is heightened. When we improve our relationships with ourselves and each other the outcomes of social justice, equity, improved mutual respect, and unity has a greater possibility of being achieved. Find the Deyen within you and allow the transformation to happen!


● Launch event attended by over 700 participants on Zoom.

● Within 90 minutes of the course launch, the first cohort was SOLD OUT.

● Business has allowed this solopreneur to scale, grow and build a supportive team all in the sprit of reconciliation and collaboration while freeing up her time to work on other projects and enjoy her life.

Indigenous Digital Accelerator at CapU (IDA)

In partnership with Indigenext, Capilano University has announced a 1.93-million-dollar contribution from Western Economic Diversification Canada to build a first-of-its-kind Indigenous Digital Accelerator (IDA). More recently TD has added an additional 450k in funding to further support this initiative. INDIGENEXT was instrumental in the germination of the idea and piloting it successfully into funding avenues and a successful partnership with CapU.

The IDA provides resources to nurture Indigenous business growth in BC’s tech, digital-creative and cultural sectors. The project scales up early stage Indigenous companies with high growth, commercialization, and innovation potential within a framework that emphasizes community development and low environmental impact. The IDA also assists in addressing Indigenous participation gaps.

The vision of the IDA is to grow a cluster of digital-creative businesses/organizations. The project aims to:

● Scale/grow 10-20 businesses/organizations in the next 3 years

● Create 100 new Indigenous jobs in the next 5 years

● Create hundreds of student employment and research opportunities

The IDA addresses significant gaps in the participation of Indigenous peoples in the high technology, digital-creative and cultural sectors including, for example, film, TV, games, and digital media. It will contribute to the development of hundreds of low-carbon jobs. This project will grow Indigenous digital intellectual property (IP) and technology development as well as digital/cultural products/services. As the IDA matures, it will include new sectors (e.g., tourism, hospitality, energy, aquaculture). Unlike traditional accelerator/incubators the focus on extractive measures, exits and multipliers is instead restored to community, entrepreneurial leadership and regenerative wealth.

The IDA’s first cohort is currently in session and will be launched in Spring 2021.

Nawalakw Cultural Revitalization 

We welcome you to the territory of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, in the Great Bear rainforest, on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. This is one of the richest and most diverse biospheres on earth, and is the geography that cradles our origin stories that trace back more than 10,000 years. We are a people of the land who both harvest from and protect what is also one of the world’s most fragile ecosystems. We share our territory with Orca and grizzlies, salmon, sea lions, eagles, deer, and sea otter. The Nawalakw Project is our catalyst that offers us the ability to choose the road of sustainable economic development woven with the wellbeing from the fibre of our culture.  

Envisioned as a dual-purpose, Cultural and Language Revitalization Project and world-class cultural exchange, eco-tourism and economic development, the project has already been built out and exceeded it’s goals at phase One and commenced delivering traditional healing programs and teachings in all aspects of the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw  language and culture for the balance of the last two years featuring profoundly regenerative programming. No small feat to accomplish, a floating barge as a construction crew worked diligently, remotely, and safely throughout covid, on time and on schedule. Restoring health from hazard, a decommissioned fish farm’s pens were reimagined and put to work as a 700 foot dock. Solar panels were installed while poles were carved and a small village was rebuilt in an ancient and ancestral area called “Hada” occupied by the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw since time immemorial. Our Children returned optimistically and with bright and hopeful eyes to Hada’s shores with Elders in tow to once again speak the language and claim what was theirs.

This multi-phase project will continue to create presence and environmental stewardship in traditional territory and create a restorative presence of great joy and continued pride.

In the next decade Nawalakw will:

  • Deliver more than 300,000 hours of language and cultural programming to our youth
  • Provide over 200,000 hours of wellness programming to our larger indigenous community
  • Provide the hub for a Guardian program which will protect our salmon, whales, and bears
  • Employee up to 100 people each year in full or part-time work
  • Protect the fragile ecosystem of Salmon and Grizzly bears in the Hada River estuary

Nawalakw, as a Language and Cultural Revitalization project, experienced growth from 1 to 30 employees in 3 years, and is now the largest Indigenous controlled NGO in the region as well as the largest non-governmental seasonal employer of Indigenous youth in the province/state. Nawalakw raised $20 million through a tiered funding model supported and nurtured by INDIGENEXT from idea to execution.

News Coverage: https://nuvomagazine.com/culture/nawalakw


Designed as an early incubator and staging ground for the introduction of drone technology to First Nations communities Drone Territory took off early in 2017.

Safe areas for recreational drone use are in demand for both outdoor and indoor pilots. As a sport, drone racing has seen tremendous growth over the past year, gaining coverage on ESPN, TSN, and Sky Sports, and drawing crowds to events in Las Vegas, Dubai, and Hawaii. Drone racers use first person viewing (FPV) goggles to navigate fast-flying drones through courses in a controlled area. The Canadian Federation of Drone Racing, which sets national rules and track safety standards for drone racing, partnered with Drone Territory to provide training to First Nations Youth, track design expertise, and co-promotion through volunteers from the West Coast Drone Racing League.

Drone Territory and its First Nations partners offered drone pilots an opportunity to visit traditional territories to try, buy, and fly drones. The business also provided video capture services and technology training to First Nations to promote and document, monitor and protect their territories.

The initiative also provided an opportunity for Indigenous communities to enter a rapidly growing technology sector, while offering employment opportunities for youth and leapfrogging to the future with a vision of the past.

Kingcome Raven Adventures

Kingcome Raven Adventures is a First Nations’ owned tourism business, operated by Thomas Peter Moon and He’ma Deedames Willie from the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Territory. Kingcome Raven Adventures was founded to help the people, the land, and the preservation of the historical and cultural knowledge of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw. KIngcome Inlet is a community which has been continuously inhabited for more than 10,000 years. We Assisted founders in starting their river adventure business which currently hold a 5 star ranking on Trip Advisor.  

B4 Vancouver – Sen̓áḵw

Before the City of Vancouver officially “Acknowledged” they were on Unceded Territory – Indigenext planned and executed a summer youth camp for youth aged 15 and older. This free/ no charge program ran in two separate sessions. Using 3D modelling software students with no experience were able to re-build VR( Virtual reality) worlds of Traditional Territory of Vancouver and use tools like the Oculus Go, SketchUp 3D, GitHub, and Unity to decontextualize and experience what was here before Vancouver and reoccupy it within digital space and allow passers by the opportunity to time travel and understand and acknowledge the land they were standing upon. In addition to the digital land back – the skillsets acquired by the students also served as a soft-skills training suitable to introductions into Game design and development, and careers in the burgeoning field VR/AR and mixed reality of which several students went on to. Funding was provided by The Discovery Foundation and Cira and INDIGENEXT.

The results of the program and resources are available on Github here.

Seawolf Adventures

Sea Wolf Adventures connects travellers to the beauty of the Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw, the Great Bear Rainforest, through grizzly bear viewing and cultural tours with local First Nation guides. Safe. True. Educational. Located on Northern Vancouver Island. Indigenext worked with Mike Willie, founder of Seawolf Adventures to assist him with growing and scaling his business. During the period we had the privilege of working with Seawolf, we assisted with financing and the business doubled.

Web page here: https://seawolfadventures.ca/

Native Land

Native Land Digital is a registered Canadian not-for-profit organization which has profoundly shifted the settler and traditional/google/colonial maps-based lens of mapping Indigenous territories, culture and history. INDIGENEXT was instrumental in supporting the early phases of the projects growth and transition successfully to Indigenous governance from ally led goodwill. A majority-Indigenous Board of Directors, representing people who have close ties to land bases, communities, and deep knowledge about Indigenous ways of being and knowing and an Advisory Council, consisting of a variety of specialists in mapmaking, GIS, relations with Indigenous communities, and more. Together, these two forces help to face and deal with many of complex issues that mapping Indigenous territories involves, such as:

  • Who belongs on a map of Indigenous territories? What defines “being Indigenous”, especially across time and space?
  • How many sources, and what types of sources, are acceptable when it comes to making a map?
  • How do we balance “accuracy” of borders with the breadth of an ever-expanding global map?
  • How do we engage with Indigenous people and communities to better facilitate self-representation?
  • How do we create an organization that represents an Indigenous way of governing?

Web page here: https://native-land.ca/

Iskwew Air

Iskwew is pronounced:  ISS-KWAY-YO
Iskwew is a Cree word for woman.  The name was chosen to celebrate the first Indigenous woman owned airline, all women, and all those lifting women.  It was chosen as an act of reclamation of womanhood, matriarchal leadership, and language. Iskwew Air is the first Female Owned and Operated Indigenous Airline that we have on record. Indigenext has been supporting it’s founder in her acceleration and growth and exploration into the nascent Advanced Air Mobility Field of which Iskwew is already a leader.

Web page here: https://www.iskwew.ca/

Global Study of Indigenous Accelerators and Incubators

In Partnership with UBC Sauder School of Business we conducted the first global study of Indigenous Incubators and Accelerators in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the US. The investigation, which was the first such global assessment,  identified 14 Accelerators in 4 countries.
Based on the study findings, we believe that there is lack of business and economic development opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs in British Columbia and Canada as a whole. More emphasis should be given to the area of business acceleration and incubation for Indigenous entrepreneurs. 

Interestingly, our findings in gender inclusion and diversity suggest the importance of support for women entrepreneurs in Indigenous accelerator and incubator programs. Specifically, we found a high rate of female participants among several Indigenous business accelerators and incubators. The exceptionally high rate of women entrepreneurs in Indigenous programs suggests a point of differentiation from non-Indigenous organizations.