Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow, Founder of Birch Bark Coffee Co
Mark is Ojibwe and a Band member of Whitefish River First Nation located on Birch Island, Ontario in the District of Manitoulin Island. As the proud founder of two First Nations owned companies, IndiGenius and Associates Inc. and Birch Bark Coffee Company Inc., he is on a mission to make a difference in Indigenous people’s lives across Canada. He is a firm believer that with self-determination and perseverance he can make a difference through education and awareness across our nation.
Mark is a highly accomplished First Nations Justice Consultant, Entrepreneur and College Instructor with a comprehensive knowledge and history of Indigenous law and the social injustices Indigenous people have faced and continue to face. He was a senior case manager with over 27 years’ experience in social services, specializing in Indigenous program development, facilitation, counselling, curriculum development and continues as a lead College Instructor in British Columbia and professional Gladue expert and writer.
He has held several positions within Indigenous organizations helping to develop and oversee First Nation’s justice programs, In addition to ensuring Provincial and Federal courts and Indigenous people in conflict with the law understood the necessary programming that was available to help individuals embark on a healing journey whether facing incarceration or returning to a community.
Mark maintains a position as an IRSSS Residential School Crisis Line Counsellor with Donna Cona, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (Resolution Individual Affairs Sector) providing counselling for families of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, and girls (MMIWG), Day School Students (IDS), Hope for Wellness (HFW), Residential School students and the resourcing related to the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC).
Mark is also the Founder of a social enterprise that is cause-driven aiming to tackle Indigenous injustices within Canada, in particular the water crisis. He is on a quest to share a story of third world-like conditions that Indigenous people continue to live within our Nation. Inspiring others to believe in themselves and to discover their purpose in life that may lead them on a journey to self-reflect on ethical and sustainable responsibilities that have positive social impacts in our world through cause-driven initiatives.
Mark is proud and honored to have been recognized with the below awards:
- People in Business Award given at the Waters Next Awards by Water Next Canada in 2019
- Indigenous Entrepreneur award both Regional and National with Start-Up Canada for 2020
- Alumni of Distinction, Community Services Award from Algonquin College
- 2019 Premier’s Award for Outstanding Ontario College Graduates 2019