It is not easy to start a business, let alone one in aviation. However, a Canadian became the country’s first indigenous woman to launch an airline company from scratch. “Even today it’s hard to imagine that I am launching an airline,” Teara Fraser told CBC. Fraser, who was born in Hay River in the Northwest Territories, aims to connect passengers to indigenous communities and regions that are hard to reach.
However, Fraser is not the first indigenous woman in Canada to own an airline. According to the same report, Laverna Martel-Harvey, who also hails from Hay River, bought the then 38-year old Wolverine Air back in 2010. Moreover, she is also part-owner of South Nahanni Airways and Wolverine Air Ltd.
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Talking to the Canadian broadcast company, Martel-Harvey said, “I’ve got to give it her all, [starting an airline from scratch] is a big process and it’s a costly process.” “I am pretty proud, she is an Indigenous lady from the territories, and if we can do it, anyone can,” she added.
Installing the new sign and getting ready for the Iskwew Air Blessing Ceremony and Celebration on Friday. Stay tuned for more…. pic.twitter.com/5BQEbsCwCg
— Teara Fraser (@tearafraser) September 18, 2018
On Friday Fraser announced the launch of the Iskwew Air, which is based at Vancouver International Airport. The flight operations will start from March next year. The 47-year-old Fraser was a pilot for 15 years and previously worked for Hawkair, a Terrace-based regional airline.
Hands raised to the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) representatives who attended today’s blessing ceremony. It is very important to us that @IskwewAir honours protocol and sought the blessing of the Musqueam peoples to operate on their traditional lands before launching. pic.twitter.com/zyPi8KrO7j
— Iskwew Air (@IskwewAir) September 22, 2018
The name of the airline Iskwew, is a Cree word for woman. According to the Oxford dictonary, Cree is a member of an indigenous community living in a vast area of central Canada.