Who are we
We are an Indigenous -owned company operating under a Two-Eyed seeing approach, based out of Chatham, Ontario. We assist businesses, public services, and organizations to engage with Indigenous communities and peoples and vice-versa with an aim to empower through team building, strategic planning, and an approach to business rooted in Indigenous values. Our overarching long-term goal is to be able to raise Indigenous voices through complex public engagement.
Who do we work with
Communities, entrepreneurs & organizations
Government departments & federal entities
Businesses & corporations
As a for-profit corporation, we have worked nationally across Canada with individuals, organizations and communities across the spectrum. We have grown as a business for 5 years, however, staff have worked with Indigenous communities and organizations for over 20 years. Over the years, the quality of our work has led us, through word of mouth, to work with a variety of clients on a range of complex issues.
Additionally, using Indigenous values like Seven Grandfather Teachings, Clan System, and Circle Facilitation Model have allowed us to effectively utilize the strengths of each of our team member. This has created a wide range of expertise within the company.
What sets us apart
The fact that we have been able to implement Two-Eyed seeing and other Indigenous values in our day-to-day functioning has helped us empower our clients better over the course of our journey. Our methodology has allowed us to build trust and guide open conversations, resulting in valuable information exchange.
At the core, we are Indigenous, woman-owned and operated business with a dynamic team of passionate individuals whose goals are to elevate Indigenous voices, to remove barriers for employment of Indigenous people through cultural training and to create diverse and inclusive workforces.
Interview with our matriarch
What is the exact story of Three Sisters
Consulting – where and when did it start?
I can tell you it was 18 years ago when I 1st had the idea and at the time, I was working for the government delivering programs for entrepreneurs. This is where I learned what an entrepreneur is and then I started to kind of secretly admire the work they did. I was a support to them when they were applying for different grants and programs and things like that so I would explain the programs I would help them to apply and walk through the forms.
Who would you say was the
first entrepreneur you admired?
That would be Albert. Albert was from Kingston. He was an Indigenous man who had previously been in prison and he was trying to put his life together. Nobody would hire him - he was a hard worker so he never gave up. I was helping him navigate those times, but at one point he was so worried he said I don't know if I can afford to do this. He was really stressed out and then he called. That call was really heavy on my mind I couldn't help Albert at that moment. He then ran across somebody who builds homes and this person hired him. His job was to go through and wash all the windows before they brought people in to sell the homes.
When did you start Three Sisters Consulting and begin your entrepreneurial journey?
So, when I was let go from my previous employment, I took a family vacation as it was a very high-stress job and it pulled me away from my family. I came back and I started volunteering in my community and just trying to give back. Then I got to look at a job that was posted three times and this organization was having a hard time finding someone. So, I wrote my first RFP. I got the response for that RPF and it was on 28th August 2018 that I signed my first contract. It started in my spare room.
How did you go forward after the first contract?
For the first few months of the business I only had that first contract and I enjoyed it. It sparked a lot of curiosity for me. I started to travel to different Indigenous communities and did a lot of groundwork. I think it was about after six months that another contract came up and I thought okay I've done this once I'll do it again so I applied for another. When I got it then, I kind of panicked a little bit because it was a lot of work - it was overwhelming.
By the time the second contract was winding down, I was starting to look into procurement and opportunities and what I could do. This is how it all started.
How do you look at engagement and
government policies in the Indigenous
What we do is engagements, so reaching out and having conversations with Indigenous communities. It has to be understood that there's a huge lack of trust for good reason. The fact that there are jobs being earmarked for Indigenous is unfortunate but if you didn't have them how many people would actually benefit?
The work being done by the government is good, in a lot of ways - the problem is when changes made oftentimes do not support Indigenous communities in any way. What it does is that it gives you a very topical surface view of how you can do things but again it goes back to the flawed learnings. The thing is government and colonial people who are used to that system haven't wanted to see the two worlds. So that's where we try to bridge the gap.
How do you make the balance?
There is another concept called –Two-Eyed Seeing. It started in the health sector one eye is Western medicine and the other is an Indigenous way of healing. The thing is that together the two eyes still have one vision - that's where you've got to get to. It comes with a lot of compromise and Indigenous people have compromised a lot so far. When I chose who to work with, I am very clear - if you’re not going to have a conversation with me that’s going to make a change for Indigenous people - that's a waste of my time and the company's too.
What legacy do you wish to leave?
I have been inspired by excellent Indigenous leaders. If there's anything when it comes to a legacy, I just want to be one of those people that helped someone else that's it. I want to be able to spark ideas in youth. I want to show that entrepreneurship is not scary - that there are people you can count on to help you out.
Your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
I think the colonial concept of businesses that you need to have all of the money in your corner it's not something that you do together is incorrect. I mean there's enough in this world for everyone. If I come across some interesting businesses, I am someone who is happy to call and congratulate them telling them that's a good thing. Second - 'networking' is the key to business. If you are open to ideas, meeting people, and exploring the strengths and weaknesses of your company, you’re on a good path.