The Original SupplyChain
In University, I studied Supply Chain Management. When I tell people that, they often give me a confused look.
“Wait….What is Supply chain management?”
“Business?…you don’t see many native people in business?”
Well first of all, that the statement isn’t true: First-Nations, Metis, and Inuit people are opening businesses across Canada at record-breaking rates. But it also misses something else important about Indigenous people in Supply Chain:
You see, a supply chain is essentially the movement of goods and services. From logistics and operations to sourcing and trade, supply chain management is the umbrella term for all the activities that allow you to get the products you need and want everyday, at the price you expect, with the right quality. Supply Chain professionals are everywhere, working hard to manage inventory, source new innovative products or calculate the algorithms needed to ensure you get what you need right now.
So how come I chose supply chain?
Did you know that my people were the original supply chain network of this continent?
The Indigenous peoples of this continent were responsible for the operation of a vast trading network that spanned turtle island. I’m not talking about just furs though! My people, the Cree people, traded knives, obsidian, metal, fabric, fresh meat, European wares and more. I once read a story about the “Iron Confederacy”, the story of a trade alliance between the Metis and Saulteaux people who sourced and traded much more than furs. This trade alliance was key to the survival of these nations. So trade has always been a part of our way of life and an integral part of our story on the prairies.
Fierce, right? Entrepreneurs at heart. Paving the way for what we know now as “Supply Chain Management”.
I chose SCM because I knew that Indigenous Supply Chains will be essential to building economic reconciliation. It will be the path on which Indigenous Businesses will thrive into the future. And I guess you could say that the idea for my Indigenous-owned Subscription Box comes from the same natural Cree creativity (Cree-ativity?) and enterprising spirit that my ancestors had.
My profs at school always talked about the 4 P’s: Price, Product, Promotion and Place. But I think that with Indigenous People claiming our rightful seat at the economic table, Indigenous Business has to be about the 5 P’s: Price, Product, Promotion, Place and PURPOSE.
Re-establishing the original supply chain is economic reconciliation.