Alberta, Canada-based Siksik’a Nation has introduced a range of own-brand seed-based products following a successful hemp harvest on tribal fields that totaled 130 acres last autumn year.
The launch of the Siksik’a Nation brand marks advancement on the hemp side of the tribe’s overall cannabis strategy, which also includes a plan for marijuana production.
“These endeavors of grain and future fiber production resulting from the collaboration of the Siksik’a Nation and Fresh Hemp Foods can benefit both parties as well as other nations in the future,” said Darrell McElroy, a consultant to the tribe who is Agronomist and Seed Production Manager for Fresh Hemp (Manitoba Harvest & Hemp Oil Canada), a Winnepeg-based hemp food maker.
Success in year 2
The success with hemp comes in the tribe’s second year of growing, after test crops and a year of observation in 2021.
Harvesting in 2022 was in the second half of September in cooperation with Fresh Hemp, which is also processing, distributing and selling the output – hulled seed, dehulled seed (hemp hearts) and blended protein powder.
McElroy said the nation plans to increase hemp acreage significantly in 2023 and will add hemp fiber varieties to the mix in the future.
The Siksik’a Reserve is the second largest indigenous reserve in Canada at approximately 270 square miles (701 km 2). The nation also farms canola, wheat, field peas, barley and hay on roughly 4,500 irrigated acres.
The name of the nation, the northernmost of the original peoples on the North American continent, comes from the Blackfoot words sik (black) and ik’a (foot). The Siksik’a Indian Reserve No. 146, where the hemp was planted, has a population of 4,136 of the total number reserve population of 7,565, 98% of whom are of aboriginal ancestry.
The tribe’s cannabis business is under Siksik’a Resource Development Limited (SRDL) which is responsible for a diverse group of tribal economic endeavors.
Reporting: Caren Kershner