Ian Gladue, 39, is the ideal Indigenous entrepreneur. He saw a need within the Indigenous community and he acted to fill it.
Gladue, a native of Bigstone Cree Nation in northern Alberta on Treaty 8 territory, is the co-owner of Native Delights – a restaurant in Edmonton focusing on First Nation foods – and a strong promoter of Indigenous cuisine.
Gladue worked a food concession business years ago, and recalled working at First Nation pow wows. He said the lineups at the pow wows for traditional Indigenous cuisine was very impressive. He said he remembered asking himself at the time why this cuisine could not be featured in the cities.
“That realization was the first pebble in the pond for me,” said Gladue. He said native food – such as bannock, traditional dried bison meat, and Indian tacos – was so popular, he was so surprised that no vendors were taking advantage of that. He said he approached other concession business owners who were not sure it would work.
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