Indigenous Co-operatives in Canada: Current State and New Opportunities


The first Indigenous-owned co-operative business only appeared in 1945 as a way for the Peter Ballantyne fishers at Kinoosao to collaborate. Since then, there have been over 130 co-ops created to serve Indigenous peoples across Canada. In this presentation, Kyle and Trista will give a historical overview of Canada’s Indigenous co-op sector identifying challenges entrepreneurs commonly face and new opportunities creating a renewed interest in the co-op model. Co-operatives First supports co-operative business development across western Canada’s rural and Indigenous communities.

Presented by: Kyle White & Trista Pewapisconias, Co-operatives First

Kyle White is the Education and Engagement Lead with Co-operatives First. A graduate of the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, Kyle has worked his way across Canada focusing on governance and community economic development in rural and Indigenous communities.

Trista Pewapisconias is the Business Development Lead with Co-operatives First and a member of the Little Pine First Nation. Trista is a graduate of the Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan and has extensive experience working on marketing, entrepreneurship, and business planning.