About Future Ancestors Services Inc.

 

We're doing something new, and we'd love to tell you about it.

We leverage Indigenous teachings of future ancestry to frame our work because this provides a narrative by which we can all understand ourselves as being accountable to the actions, inactions, faults, and resiliency of our ancestors, while also finding collective power in our agency to act with impact as future ancestors.

Future Ancestors Services Inc. is a Black and Indigenous-owned, youth-led professional services social enterprise that advances climate justice and equity with a lens of ancestral accountability.

We build bridges between cultures, ways of knowing, and professional sectors with the goal of addressing the causes of systemic issues that disadvantage groups of people, connection to the land, and the well-being of Earth.

 

By prioritizing equity and climate justice in our work, we strive for the just futures our communities have defined and continue to defend. We leverage Indigenous teachings of future ancestry to frame our work because this provides a narrative by which we can all understand ourselves as being accountable to the actions, inactions, faults, and resiliency of our ancestors, while also finding collective power in our agency to act with impact as future ancestors.

 
Our organizational pillars keep us walking a good path, they direct how we create content and what contracts we contribute to.

 

Our organizational pillars direct how we create content and what contracts we contribute to; they help us maintain a vision, direction, and purpose that remains true to the community-centered intent of Future Ancestors Services.

Climate Justice

Ancestral

Accountability

Equity

By prioritizing climate justice in our work, we acknowledge that climate action done on any of the globe’s Indigenous lands must centre Indigenous Peoples, knowledge systems, and sovereignty.

We engage concepts of future ancestry and ancestral accountability, which have been cornerstones of Indigenous traditional knowledge for time immemorial, and teachings are unique to every nation.

Equity is a tool with which we can achieve equality, and requires the recognition that some population groups require different resources, spaces, and opportunities to have their voices heard.

We operate in response to a growing need that
has always existed in Canada.

Canadians are increasingly becoming aware of the historical and present-day realities of often violent systems of oppression and discrimination that, all of which create patterned socio-economic disparities and advance the destruction of Earth and Her natural resources. One way that organizations and businesses are rectifying their roles in maintaining these systems is by diversifying who they work with and how they operate.

Canada has a growing, empowered, and diverse sector of professional service providers; however, there is a gap in places and spaces where these service providers can connect with the organizations and businesses seeking their services. There are also few opportunities for diverse service providers to come together and access resources that are relevant to the unique barriers they may face.

The services we offer directly, as well as the service providers we feature in our Constellation and the supports we offer them, meet this need that is growing in recognition in Canada. 

We are led by an all-star team of Directors of
Ancestral Services. 

Larissa Crawford

Founder and Managing Director

Chúk Odenigbo

Director of Ancestral Services

Monica Shafik

Director of Ancestral Services

Samantha Matters

Director of Ancestral Services

 
What is a 'social enterprise?'

Social enterprise refers to an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, rather than maximizing profits for external shareholders. Social enterprises can be structured as a for-profit or non-profit, and may take the form of a co-operative, mutual organization, a disregarded entity, a social business, or a charitable organization.

 

Many commercial enterprises would consider themselves to have social objectives, but commitment to these objectives is motivated by the perception that such commitment will ultimately make the enterprise more financially valuable. Social enterprises differ in that they do not aim to offer any benefit to their investors, except where they believe that doing so will ultimately further their capacity to realize their social and environmental goals. (Indigenous Innovation Summit Report, National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC), 2015). 

Hear from our Founder and Managing Director, Larissa Crawford, on why Future Ancestors Services Inc. was started.

One thing I was taught in my undergraduate International Development Studies program, and later in working in the non-profit granting sector, was that non-profit and humanitarian sectors are driven by a capitalist understanding of competition. There is an over saturation of organizations doing relatively the same things, thus raising the competition amongst them for sparse grant and sponsor dollars. Work may be rushed, may be done inappropriately, and the impact may be inflated in recognition of this competition. Ever wonder why we don’t see many failure reports circulating around? Yet, failure reports are often more insightful, and provide more valuable learnings, than a shiny success report.

In being taught this, I was very conscious of not wanting to start something before I knew it addressed a need that wasn’t being addressed by another organization doing really good work. Furthermore,

 

I wanted to find a way to contribute to a necessary shift of the influence competition has on how organizations and people working for social and environmental justice operate.

Having now provided speaking, training, and research service contracts in Canada for a few years, I came to identify a gap in the sector: there are limited spaces and resources clients seeking to hire diverse speakers, trainers, researchers, and artists can go to find, hire, and build their networks.

This is of growing concern, given the developing social intolerance for racism and lack of diversity across all sectors.

After being offered one too many contracts that were clearly not a fit for me (and were likely being offered simply because I was the only Indigenous or Black speaker a client could find), I made the conscious decision to build my former business, Larissa Crawford Speaks, into something more. 

Instead of competing against other diverse service providers, who too face disproportionate barriers and are working to achieve the same goals of climate justice and equity, I saw the opportunity to shift our approach and business model from the traditional understanding of competition. Yes, we have a small team to deliver services directly under Future Ancestors Services, and yes, our Constellation promotes and supports service deliverers that would be our expected competitors; but,

 

by uplifting their voices and their services, I understand this as contributing to our shared goals of creating more spaces that are equitable and that contribute to climate justice in Canada and around the world.

This is social innovation in the interest of the well-being of our future generations and Mother Earth. It makes me so happy that your interest is sparked in learning more about the Future Ancestors Services community. I really hope that you find what you’re looking for here.

 

Marsi (thank you),
 

Larissa Crawford

Founder and Managing Director, Future Ancestors Services Inc.

"Even during the earliest development
stages of Future Ancestors Services, I was guided by the ancestors: by the wealth of knowledge from the matriarchs of my family, by the ancestors I connect to through
research and ceremony, by the ancestors of the land."  

Solange Lalonde (Mother) and 

Lynn Thomson (Memère) 

in a land-based strategic

planning session

 
Understanding the history of and our connection to the land of which we occupy is an integral part to how we operate as an organization.

In the spirit of respect, reciprocity and truth, we honour and acknowledge that we operate on Indigenous lands. Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island and around the world have and continue to demand climate justice, sovereignty, and the right to live.

 

It is imperative that we take our direction from these Peoples and their knowledge systems, teachings, and cultures that inherently centre Earth and Her well-being.

"If you aren't immediately asking questions upon your arrival or of your ancestors arrival on the land you are on and about your role, history, and relationship to that land, then there needs to be some questions asked about how we perpetuate contemporary colonial erasure and violence."

@thedecolonizingalchemist via Instagram

Our logo symbolizes our roles as future ancestors and the grounding we must have in Earth and Her well-being.
Our Plan de francisation is in its' early stages of implementation. 

"As a francophone, many environmental spaces in Canada operate in English and the knowledge produced remains only in English, and so I have to be able to be fully present knowing that my self-expression is limited as I cannot use my language of choice; and that I must speak for the 20-30% of Canadians who were not invited into these spaces."

 

- Chúk Odenigbo, Director of Ancestral Services

 

Future Ancestors Services is a social enterprise based in Calgary, but serves the entirety of what is now known as Canada. In recognition that 30% of the Canadian population is Francophone, and that French is an official language of Canada, we believe it is important to offer services in the two languages as a 'national organization'. 

As we begin our Plan de francisation, we will have French Fridays. On Fridays, our social media content will be in all French. As we build our capacity, we hope to build bilingual content throughout all of our spaces and work. This is part of a more full francisation strategic plan. 

Future Ancestors Services continues to build its capacity to promote and deliver services in Indigenous languages, in recognition that these are the first languages of this land. 

Contact us at info@futureancestors.ca.

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