For thousands of years, the Indigenous entrepreneurial economy was a model of sustainability for all – not ‘business for profit’ but a way of life to benefit the entire community, the culture, and the land, preserving it for all generations to come. 

When Europeans arrived on the North American continent – which we called Turtle Island – there were already advanced economic systems in place between all the Indigenous Peoples. 

We had speakers, knowledge keepers, artists, hunters, gatherers, builders, medicine practitioners, farmers, guides on land and sea, and many other skilled entrepreneurs. There was incredible specialization in all of the Nations. 

Mediums of exchange included items like shells, pelts and specialized commodities, such as eulachan oil which was harvested along the entire Northwest Coast from Pacific smelts (once prolific but now endangered). Also known as ‘grease’, the valuable oil was traded for furs, copper, obsidian and many other products from afar. 

Trade networks were complex on Turtle Island. The ancient Grease Trail was an overland trade route from the Yukon to California to the Prairies. Other trails extended throughout Central and South America in an extensive network of sustainable interconnections. 

Today we continue to value the ancient skills and traditions that have been handed down from our ancestors. With modern technology we are building a new Indigenous business paradigm and creating digital trade networks for our local Vancouver Island goods. 

Together, let’s create a network of sustainable interconnections across Turtle Island and around the globe!


Training and Mentoring

VI Indigenous Trade Network works respectfully with each Indigenous entrepreneur to honour their skills, knowledge and expertise.

Tricia Thomas supports Indigenous entrepreneurs with the mentorship needed to successfully start or expand their businesses. She also manages a program offering cutting-edge business concepts that help entrepreneurs integrate culture into their business models.

Online Market

We are providing a space for sharing knowledge and meaningful exchanges. The customers will understand the story of each design and the intent of each item so they can develop a "personal connection" with the products and the artists.


The Salish Eye Studio is a gathering house that offers photo/video bookings, meetings, events, art, workshops, facilitation, and products. With this website, the goal is to operate the Studio in an online setting, providing a ‘virtual gathering place’ for mediums of exchange so that local Indigenous entrepreneurs will be able to share knowledge, art, and products with the world. Our mission is to lift each other up!

We support Indigenous creatives to turn their ideas into businesses.

We empower Indigenous entrepreneurs to share their gifts with the world.

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