Collaboration over Competition

How Native businesses can and are doing it our way

The message around business is so often "competition competition competition" which drives a lot of Native aspiring business owners and dreamers away.  Because we come from a value system that prioritizes the whole over the individual this tension can prove too hard to bear.

The notion of competition is built on a scarcity mindset and when we come from communities that suffer the greatest scarcity, this can feel daunting.  Collaboration comes from an abundance mindset and says "we all do better when we all do better." As tribal people, it is oppositional to our way to see others as our competition, our enemy, and where we are trying to always run faster than the rest of the pack.

Eighth Generation Founder Louie Gong and Giizh 

When I started Heart Berry I wanted to run a business My Way with my Ojibwe value system driving the direction.  I saw this value in Eighth Generation and it has proven to be what set us apart.  When we live authentically and on one path that is our truest way to shine, thrive, and live abundantly. We know, as leaders, that other entrepreneurs and artists watch our business models and we want to be as transparent as we can: Collaboration over Competition. Always. 

Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan and Giizh at Flag Launch at Allianz Stadium

Even as a Very small business we have always collaborated with aspiring entrepreneurs, brought up new cultural art teachers, shared and supported other businesses, collaborated with other artists and organizations, and raised funds for organizations doing amazing work. 

Conversely, we can also choose who we WILL NOT collaborate with.  Often the low hanging dollar can push us towards businesses that go against our values *ahem Enbridge* and we can choose to stick to our values, which in the end will let our hearts sit restfully in our chests and also our community know we are who we profess to be. In 2020, we decided to pull a $16,000 project with Duluth Pack because of their relationship with the Trump administration. We donated all our bags to the Lifehouse. And the next day we had record sales. Taking a stand can feel scary because we are so often in a scarcity mindset, especially those of us who grew up without financial stability.  But these decisions are what set us apart and allow us to continue on our heart path.

Economic Mobility Hub Custom Art

We see abundance. We know our community is FULL of assets, value, and we don't need competition for scarcity to drag us down. We utilize the power of the pack to push us forward. 

Miigwech to all the incredible folks we have collaborated with thus far.
We are just getting started.
Migizi (Eagle) for DSGW Architecture Turtle Mountain Waterpark


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