Raven was sent by the creator of the universe, to redesign the earth after the first great ice age of cleansing. After Mother Earth added the foliage, Raven made all the new animals big and small. Then lastly, he made a Spirit Bear — a symbolic gift of peace and harmony to all creatures of the earth.
Inspired by this story, Spirit Bear Coffee Company was born. Today, products from this quality coffee operation can be found in over 600 locations countrywide. The company, clearly having fun with their brand, sells the likes of “Raven" espresso beans (full of life and strength), “Eagle” medium roast (soaring flavour) and “Frog-Breakfast Blend” light roast (jump start your day).
“We’re certified organic and fair trade,” says Paul Biglin, co-president alongside Sean Harding. “Ten years ago, we were told we would never survive. We fight the big guys all the time. The Tim Hortons and the Starbucks of the world. It’s tough to be an Aboriginal company in a commodity driven market. Tough to get people believing in you. But once they do, they’re fiercely loyal. Now, we have over 50 resorts countrywide on our books.”
Biglin says he gets to travel from coast to coast to meet with different communities. “I meet Cree, Blackfoot, Mohawk people. What I’m learning is amazing. If you’re open minded enough to experience what’s out there, you’ll find we live in an amazing country. We’re always trying to expand our market place and work with other nations. Our goal is to work with every nation in North America."
THE KERMODE BEAR
OR "SPIRIT BEAR"
The spirit bear is a unique subspecies of the North American black bear in which approximately one in every 10 bears is white or cream-coloured. Some have orange or yellow coloration on their backs. Other Kermodes are all black. The scientific name is Ursus americanus kermodei, named after a naturalist and museum curator named Frances Kermode of the British Columbia Provincial Museum. The term “Spirit Bear” is possibly attributed to First Nations tradition, which held that the white bears were to be revered and protected. Today the Tsimshian people call it “moskgm’ol,” which simply means “white bear.” Kermode bears may have evolved on the coast in the last 10,000 years from black bear stock that became isolated from interior black bears more than 300,000 years ago. The white colour may be due to inheritance of a single gene for hair colour, but other more complex mechanisms may be involved. Further genetic research is needed.