Montreal Lake Business Ventures has acquired shares of the Indigenous-owned brand Manitobah Mukluks.

Montreal Lake Business Ventures was created in 2010 as Montreal Lake Cree Nation’s business venture arm, with the purpose of separating politics and business in the community.

“They were looking for an Indigenous nation to be a partner and we realized it was a wonderful fit because they connect with what Montreal Lake is all about,” said Robert Fincati, CEO of Montreal Lake Business Ventures. “We see this as being a really great partnership. Manitobah Mukluks is one of the Growth 500 fastest growing companies in Canada. This investment connects us to a well-known, quality brand and allows Montreal Lake Business Ventures to grow and fulfill our mandate of wealth creation for our community.”

Manitobah Mukluks is a Winnipeg-based footwear company started in 1997 by Métis entrepreneur Sean McCormick, who is still the CEO of the top manufacturer of moccasins and mukluks on Earth.

“Demand for Manitobah Mukluks products is growing,” McCormick stated. “We’re excited that this partnership will help us achieve both our economic and social missions.”

Storyboot School’s first graduating class from Montreal Lake completed the program on Friday afternoon at the Senator Allen Bird Memorial School.

The Storyboot School is a non-profit organization supported by Manitbah Mukluks, where Indigenous instructors show students how to make moccasins and mukluks.

“We’ve really enjoyed teaching the students in this class,” said Gloria Beckman, a Storyboot School teacher. “The students have really enjoyed the opportunity to learn and practice this art.  It helps preserve our culture and instills a sense of pride in our students learning a traditional skill that can be carried on for generations.”

The artists receive all the profit from Storyboot sales.

Manitobah Mukluks now sends moccasins and mukluks to more than 50 countries around the world.

“It’s very beneficial for the community to have ownership and be able to participate in an industry that has strong roots in our traditions,” Montreal Lake Cree Nation Chief Frank Roberts explained. “This agreement will provide long-term economic development opportunities and benefits for Montreal Lake for years to come.”

(PHOTO: Robert Fincati, CEO of Montreal Lake Business Ventures (left) and Sean McCormick, CEO of Manitobah Mukluks (right). Photo by Brendan Mayer.)