Shannin Metatawabin’s experience in the business world goes way back to when he was a young boy growing up in Fort Albany, a Cree Nation community on the west coast of James Bay.
“My family had been operating a restaurant out of the old residential school in Fort Albany for over 50 years, so I’d seen business early on,” said Metatawabin. He recalls early memories of helping his mother and grandmother in the family restaurant where they fed many community members and visitors to Fort Albany.
“When I was 16 or 17, me and my brother operated that restaurant for the summer and we had a full suite of food, we had ice cream, we had everything. We were just doing it to have the cash but it was a training ground; it was a real great learning opportunity for us,” fondly recalled Metatawabin.
“My grandfather, who really influenced all of us, he was probably one of the last trappers of the region. He always worked for himself, so he’s always been an entrepreneur. He was always on the land trapping, providing for his family. That was pretty well the mentality of our people before being colonized.”