Indigenous woman's salon changes hair-cutting culture in Regina
Published Friday, March 10, 2017 6:07PM CST
Ron Crowe is proud to have his hair cut by a First Nations woman.
"An enterprise like this mashes through some of the stereotypes and myths about First Nation-Aboriginal people," said Crowe, who is from Piapot First Nation.
Crowe is referring to Miyosiwin in downtown Regina -- the only First Nation-owned and -operated salon and spa in the city.
Jennifer Dubois from the George Gordon First Nation runs the business, which opened Feb. 28. She says she and her staff are changing Regina's hair cutting culture.
"Not everybody looks at their hair the same way,” said the stylist of 13 years.
“So, being aware of everybody's cultural practices is very helpful when it comes to doing hair. It establishes trust.”
Dubois says that connection is something she didn't have with stylists as a young girl, and is glad she and her staff can provide that to clients, whether they are First Nations or not.
"I didn't really have the connection with the stylist,” she said. “When she was ready to style my hair, she just started blow drying it and I'm like, ‘Oh my god, I don't think you should do that.’"
All four staff at Miyosiwin are First Nations women. Angel Pelletier is one of the stylists and says working at the salon helps her pass on her culture to others.
"Being able to share the culture with non-First Nations is pretty cool… and to be proud of being First Nation as an individual and a stylist, too," said Pelletier, who like Dubois, is a journeyman stylist.
While Miyosiwin Salon/Spa offers clients understanding from a First Nation perspective, it's not the only cultural aspect of Dubois’ business. It's also about family.
"It's nice that that space is available downstairs for my husband to use for photography purposes and we can now offer packages, you know, bridal packages,” said Dubois.
“They can come in, get their hair done, their makeup done and go downstairs for a photoshoot before they get married."
Dubois plans reach beyond her own business by giving high school students and adults the opportunity to do work placements at her salon to help groom the next generation of hair professionals.