The Indigenous Lens

Man contemplating
Lawrence Lewis. Photo By: Jeffrey Bosdet.

Lawrence Lewis is the CEO and founder of OneFeather Mobile Technologies, a digital platform serving over 230 First Nations across the country, by providing access to dedicated Indigenous banking solutions, online status card renewals and digital voting.

Indigenous people are the only regulated population in the country who have certain rights, entitlements and benefits held in trust by Canada. OneFeather’s technology removes barriers that exist between the interface with government and institutions, such as racism, institutional biases and antiquated systems.

By celebrating and empowering digital Indigenous sovereign identity, Lewis and OneFeather are, as he puts it “thought leaders, redefining the narrative around what Indigenous identity looks like.”

How do you describe your Indigenous lens? 

As Indigenous persons, the work that we do, whether it’s cultural work or business work or community work, tends to be grounded via our Indigenous lens and our shared lived experience.

It’s also grounded in the values and principles [of a Potlatch or traditional practice perspective] of leaving more on the table when you leave than when you arrive, which means that your net impact is always to the benefit of who you’re engaged and doing work with.

That’s a pretty big position, in terms of how the modern world works, with wealth being measured by what you keep — we come at it from a totally different perspective. In the work that we do, it’s just really, really important that we’re adding value both quantifiably but also in ways that simply lift our people up.

What does this mean for business? 

We are a for-profit business. We have investors that expect a certain return on their investment. But I think we’re in this kind of sweet spot right now, where digital technology has really caught up with and is allowing us to do business in this new Indigenous way. There is an alignment, now which allows us to do business this way — we couldn’t have operated this way a decade ago.

What is reconciliACTION?

We’ve been doing it all along. We are positioning OneFeather, as an Indigenous company, to take ownership of this digital space and drive the conversation to determine what’s appropriate and what’s not.

It’s only in the last half of the year that we’ve used that term reconciliACTION — being aware that we were taking ownership of this space and driving it from that Indigenous perspective, as opposed to waiting for Google or Amazon or Facebook, or somebody else to define that for us.

ReconciliACTION is really about owning that space where you work and play and do what you’re going to do, and making sure that it aligns with our Indigenous values and principles.