Sask Polytech Indigenous Alumni Encourages Youth to Dream Big

Patrick Mitsuing launches Powwow Times and performs at Super Bowl LVII in Arizona


Patrick Mitsuing, from the Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation, has spent his life and career advocating for the promotion of Indigenous culture and language. After launching his company, Powwow Times, he quickly achieved global recognition with a performance at Super Bowl LVII in Arizona.

Mitsuing has been travelling and performing along the powwow trail in North America for nearly 20 years gaining awards and followers along the way. His entrepreneurial journey started at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in the Entrepreneurship and Small Business certificate program. After receiving his certificate, he launched a smoothie business called Jingle Juice Smoothies to provide a healthy food option at powwows. “We had two drink options, double berry and strawberry. We sold them for $5 each. We ran Jingle Juice Smoothies for four years while my family danced at powwows to create income. It was really popular.”

When asked what sparked his entrepreneurial spirt, Mitsuing shares, “One of the families I grew up with was a very cultural family, the dad was an entrepreneur. He had a pawn shop, sold cars and had a concession. I realized running a business was something I was very interested in.”

Since launching Powwow Times three years ago, Mitsuing has organized the first powwow at the Calgary Stampede in 2022, coordinated a virtual and touring exhibit on the history of powwow with Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery (MAG), launched an Indigenous language program called Repeat After Me Cree Learning, performed at the Super Bowl and recently traveled to London and Paris with Travel Alberta and Indigenous Tourism Alberta to promote Indigenous people and businesses. He also has an upcoming trip to Japan.

The busy father of five shares that everything he does it to celebrate Indigenous culture and have a positive impact. Before becoming a business, Powwow Times was a social media platform. “We were some of the first people to post powwow videos on social media.” Powwow Times is now a large online media site for Indigenous education, culture, song and dance with over 7,000 powwow videos on YouTube, 40,000 YouTube subscribers and 189,000 Facebook followers. “Our mandate is revitalizing the Indigenous language and promoting healthy living through Indigenous culture and decolonization.”

The name Powwow Times is inspired by the New York Times and LA Times. “I thought, why not Powwow Times? I’ve been posting on social media under Powwow Times since 2015, building an audience and sharing our culture. Once we built a huge audience, we turned Powwow Times into a business. It’s been a successful and growing business.”

Mitsuing, along with his wife, Marrisa, and his family call central Alberta home. The Mitsuing family has invested nearly a decade of community building with the City of Red Deer. This led to the creation of Powwow! ohcîwin the origins with the Red Deer MAG. Ohcîwin is Cree for the origin, for telling of a story of where something originated. Working with a diverse team of Indigenous artists the family assembled powwow dance regalia and met with Knowledge Keepers and Elders from across North America to record the origin stories of the powwow dances performed. Since launching the exhibit has received two awards – one from the Alberta Heritage Awards and one from the Costume Society of America.

When asked about his success, Mitsuing shares, “We have achieved a lot in three years. It feels amazing because we have been able to bless a lot of people. We’ve been able to hire over 200 people and work with 500 volunteers. We have generated millions of dollars in economic impact. We continue to bless people and bless artists – we allow them to shine through what we are doing with our company.

“It’s been a lot of education,” adds Mitsuing. “People don’t understand the value of Indigenous powwows and how they benefit a community. It’s a lot of work revitalizing culture and creating reconnection.”

When asked how his Sask Polytech training has influenced his career, Mitsuing says the Entrepreneurship and Small Business certificate taught him how to write a business plan and how to do bookkeeping. These skills have been monumental in helping with grant and proposal writing. Mitsuing is also a lifelong learner. He shares the learning didn’t stop at Sask Polytech. He has attended numerous conferences and read hundreds of books since finishing his formal post-secondary training. Some favourite books are The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins.

The Super Bowl was a big milestone for Mitsuing. When asked about it he shares, “It should have happened sooner, but I’m so happy for the opportunity. People are now creating spaces for Indigenous culture. Everything happening in North America is on Indigenous land. Indigenous participation in these big events helps with education and learning. It’s good for our Indigenous kids and youth to see us in spaces like the Super Bowl.”

“Lots of Indigenous healing is happening right now too, as people learn more about Indigenous history and culture,” Mitsuing says. While he was in London promoting local Indigenous businesses and people, colonization was a big topic, so it was a tough time. “We performed a healing song in front of Buckingham Palace. We are working towards a healthier and brighter future for our people.”

Mitsuing has big plans for his future and Powwow Times. “I want to build a multi-million-dollar centre – our own powwow arena. It could include a museum, art gallery, library and language archives for workshops, retreats, events and tourism.”

“It’s amazing how far we have come. I once was living in poverty. Now I reach millions of people a month through social media, my website and large events. If you want things to change, you have to change. If you want things to become better, you have to become better. One person can make a huge impact in the community.”

Dr. Barb Gustafson, currently an interim dean at Sask Polytech, was a faculty member in the Entrepreneurship and Small Business program when Mitsuing was a student. “Patrick’s story is an example of how we, as instructors, never quite know where our graduates will take their education,” she says. “It was exciting to hear of Patrick performing at the Super Bowl and to consider that his time at Sask Polytech contributed to his business success.”

It’s clear to see the impact Mitsuing and his family have had is measurable and we can’t wait to see what they achieve next.

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April 2023


Saskatchewan Polytechnic serves students through applied learning opportunities on Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 Territories and the homeland of the Métis.