Infusing Art and Entrepreneurship to Create Conversation

“It is important to tell Indigenous youth that if they feel hopeless and like they don’t have the book smarts to work in any of those trades, they can become an artist and infuse their traditional culture into their art.”

Jay Soule, Founder and Artist at Chippewar, shares the stories behind his art. Jay’s work is an expression of the relationship that Canada has with Indigenous people and through sharing these expressions with the world, Jay is living his truth and showing others that by fusing your passion with the path of entrepreneurship, you can be self-sufficient while inspiring others.

Pow Wow Pitch is a new digital docu-series produced by Startup Canada in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada, to feature the compelling stories of six Indigenous entrepreneurs.

SC: What does your art express to the world and what statement do your t-shirts, hoodies, and hats make?

JS: My work describes the relationship Canada has with Indigenous people, we are somewhat still at war. Through my work, I send political messages and socially conscious messages. I want to inspire Indigenous youth, wake them up and let them know that we can fight back.

SC: As an Indigenous entrepreneur, what is the most important part of your business to you?

JS: My journey with entrepreneurship has taught me about hard work. It has allowed me to understand the economics of taking your money and putting it back into your product and back into your business, I think that is the most important thing. Without doing that, I wouldn’t have been able to get to where I am now. What I see in the future, is continuing to do that with my business so I can continue to be self-sufficient and offer training to Indigenous youth to teach them what I do, so they can do it for themselves as well.

SC: What is the most important thing for Indigenous youth to hear?

JS: I think the most important thing for Indigenous youth to hear is that they don’t have to be in a regular, Western career. They don’t have to be a doctor, a lawyer or an electrician. I encourage Indigenous youth to get into the arts because 70% of Indigenous people in Canada support themselves through the arts, and that is a huge indication that we can grow an amazing economy. It is important to tell Indigenous youth that if they feel hopeless and like they don’t have the book smarts to work in any of those trades, they can become an artist and infuse their traditional culture into their art.

New episodes air on startupcan.ca/pow-wow-pitch and across social media using #PowWowPitch every Sunday at 6:00 PM ET from June 24 to July 29th.