Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Doctor of Philosophy




Plummer, Lawrence A.

2nd Supervisor

Parker, Simon C.



Entrepreneurial actions, i.e., activities like hiring, marketing, financing, hustling (even bribing!), etc., requisite for building small businesses are less studied than antecedent opportunity recognition processes. The two most common form of contexts in which entrepreneurial actions are studied are opportunity-driven (Silicon-Valley type) and necessity-driven (poverty contexts). While there is a fair amount of research on community-based and band-driven Indigenous entrepreneurship, less is known about entrepreneurial actions by individual self-employed Métis and First Nations entrepreneurs in Canada/ Turtle Island. Métis and First Nations entrepreneurs face a differential set of obstacles in their pursuit for economic self-determination compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts. This dissertation endeavours to understand entrepreneurial actions undertaken by individual Métis and First Nations entrepreneurs and their similarities and differences with dominant notions, more specifically the extant notions of opportunity-driven and necessity-driven entrepreneurial actions. I do so abductively by leveraging qualitative methods, in the context of Métis and First Nations self-employed entrepreneurs in the Canadian Prairies (more specifically, Saskatchewan). Findings highlight that the entrepreneurial actions of Métis and First Nations entrepreneurs differ compared to dominant notions along three dimensions, namely – motivation, liabilities, and the actions themselves. I submit that this has both theoretical and practical implications as my findings make a case for explicitly accounting for a role of self-regulatory coping and volition as foundational micro-components of entrepreneurial action, in addition to knowledge and motivation already prescribed in extant literature.

Summary for Lay Audience

How do entrepreneurs who have a lifetime of experiences with systemic discrimination stay focused and motivated? What keeps an entrepreneur going despite not only deep rooted, intergenerational historical trauma and stigma but also everyday encounters with the same? Moreover, while there is research that inequality gets reproduced through seemingly trivial everyday micro-aggressions, are there ways and means to “undo” and mitigate these inequalities? This dissertation attempts to find answers to these questions in the context of Indigenous entrepreneurs in the Canadian Prairies. We find that Indigenous entrepreneurs have survived (and indeed many have thrived) despite multi-generational and ongoing experiences with systemic institutional barriers. We find that despite the deep hurt and psychological injuries due to intergenerational trauma and stigma, they have identified ways and means to not only subvert some of the insidious effects but also use their businesses to restore cultural practices and pride. What are these actions and strategies? This dissertation endeavors to shed light on these questions.