I am Ojibwe and a Band member of Whitefish River First Nation located on Birch Island, Ontario in the District of Manitoulin Island and I am the Founder of a First Nations owned innovative social enterprise called Birch Bark Coffee Company and I am on a mission to change Indigenous lives on a national level.

Much of my work has been focused on a my lengthy career in the social service's. I have owned renovations companies in the past and I have a partnership with Vancouver Community College. With my extensive knowledge of the judicial system pertaining to Gladue Report and the courts and V.C.C. being a post-secondary accredited College. We work together to develop, design and deliver one of the first intensive training programs for Gladue Writers in Canada.

I also have a passion for the arts, creating unique pieces of jewellery using copper and hammering techniques. My journey in life as had many trials and tribulations it has been filled with happiness and disappointments and of course hardships, but within that journey I bottled perseverance to help me to still continue to grow as a person, even at 52 years old. 

I have gained a better understanding and respect for Mother Earth and know the importance of "We are only here on this earth, but once in our lifetime". We never stop learning from our environment or the people who enter our lives. I also see my journey in creating Birch Bark Coffee Company as a really cool novel with an exciting new chapter each flip of the page waiting to be read.

Indigenous people in Canada continue to live in third world conditions and I want to educate the world that Birch Bark Coffee Company can and will make a difference through innovation and self-determination.

I was inspired by my communities and birch trees and the connection the trees had to my Indigenous heritage. I have always known that birch trees have been relied upon for many centuries by First Nations people, European Settlers, and Voyageurs for transporting food, medicine, paper, canoes and crafts.

The trees remain an iconic resource today still providing medicines, jewellery and crafts and throughout Canadian history the birch trees have increased the quality of life in so many ways, for so many people, and ironically, when I researched about coffee beans I found there to be many parallels in the historical stories of the quintessential coffee bean.

My journey has taken me to Colleges, Universities and several organizations to share my views and knowledge about innovative social enterprises and cause-driven initiatives and the importance of sustainability and social impacts. 

I am on a quest to share my story to inspire others to believe in themselves and to spark their interest to discover their purpose in life in order that they may make a social impact in the the world through innovation. 


Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow