Embracing Change

I am finally at a point where I can begin sharing again. The past few years farming has seen Sweet Pure Honey having to develop new ways of doing things.

  • Through fighting to save our bee farm I was reminded why we started our business in those early years with young babies. In having to confront the possibility of losing it all we were reminded why it is worth saving. We both realized just how much we love each other and this little family we created. We survived and now we are fighting to save our bee farm.

Our Wonderful family

My good friend Mathew Astorga featured our story on his show Food Power

Matt Astorga came into our lives at time where we had given up on our own dreams and our future in farming looked bleak. Having the team film at our bee farm over 3 days infused us with a sense of optimism. Through seeing ourselves and business from the eyes of others, we were encouraged to keep trying, to believe we can make this happen. It came at time while I was confronting Canada’s history with Indigenous people as more and more bodies were being discovered on former residential school grounds.

Matt and Sheldon at our bee farm

Filled with love and support I wanted to raise that level of awareness and have those conversations with others.

In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action for businesses I focused towards repairing the damage and how I can mend those relationships through our business.

Reconciliation is accomplished by embracing change, something we had to get used to over the past 4 years.

We created a honey display box that sees 10% of our sales go directly to support social change. I am happy to announce Ina Fairbanks / Old Shoes is our first recipient. This incredible lady reminded me how wonderful it feels to watch others grow and thrive. She gave me hope for the future. Ina reminded me to use the power I have, where I am to effect change. She had me at her pursuit of becoming the first female of Blood Tribe to be an Advanced Care Paramedic.

Ina Fairbanks / Old Shoes

Ina Fairbanks / Old Shoes

“Do things that scare you, don’t let fear live your life for you.”

Tell me a little about yourself.

Oki! (Hello) My name is Ina Fairbanks / Old Shoes, I am of the Blood Tribe that also takes up the name Kainai Nation located in Standoff Alberta.

How did you end up in Medicine Hat, AB?

My journey to Medicine Hat has been long overdue as I have been working towards being here since graduating High School in 2016. I have worked towards attending Medicine Hat for their Applied Bachelors in Health and Science Paramedic Program. It is the only program that offers a Bachelors degree within Para-medicine in all of Canada. For these reasons I chose to attend this College in pursuit of becoming the first female of Blood Tribe to be an Advanced Care Paramedic.

What is the main drive behind becoming a paramedic?

As First Nation, we cannot take chances into something we dream. I was taught to make choices in order to survive and everything within my life has allowed me to conclude that I would make a great Advanced Care Paramedic. When my uncle died I was not phased and since growing up I always love a good rush that life can bring. I recognized that my love for adrenaline, people, and concentration under pressure are skills that can be put to good use. Along this journey my mom got me an opportunity to work as a Fire Fighter at Blood Tribe Emergency Services where I had done that on and off for 5 years. This only gave me the passion and experience I was missing to affirm my decision. From assisting on calls and only seeing the patients who are my people for a short time has given me the drive to be the change and take the action so I can see them through that call. I want to be there for my people, speak our language to our elders, and give the empathy they deserve within my patients most vulnerable time in their lives without judgment. I have all the right reasons, I just need the education.

How has your journey lead you to start your own business?

Growing up I was told by a someone that my chances were one in a million and I needed to be realistic. While working at the Blood Tribe fire hall, I was encourage by my cousin Jared Weasel Moccasin to paint a large scale canvas. Before this, I had never knew my art held value . Once that opportunity arose I began taking opportunities when they came. This has allowed me to take chances within art and within work.

We met unexpectedly. Listening to you speak so honestly and passionately about your family and business reminded me of all the reasons I started my own. How has our encounter changed the way you think?

It has inspired me of everything I can be and so much more. It allows me to see what my small business can be and what I can become.The fact that I see your small business do so many things, and especially your trip to Vancouver was something I didn’t know small business could pursue. Now I know I can too! It’s one of those things where I don’t know what questions to ask due to my ignorance in starting out but your example has allowed me to witness all the questions I never thought to ask.

What is your hope for the future?

I would like to go as far as designing my own apparel from the material and on wards.

I hope this small business can become a name to an animation industry one day or be apart of one. I would like to make animated movies of our indigenous ways through compelling stories and moving artwork. Featuring voices of Indigenous people themselves unlike some movies that tell a story of our ways but don’t cast our people. I hope that I can promote and represent us for who we truly are on the inside rather than what others have only seen on the outside. 

How can people best support you? 

  • By promoting https://somethingwonderfulstudios.com and sharing my story.
  • Recommending themes in which they would like to see on apparel, I can do the rest. Purchasing is also something that helps, even if it’s only one of our quality products. I also do different mediums of artwork.

Feel free to message me regarding any themes or designs you would like to see!

Stella presenting Ina with a support chequeStella and Ina

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