The Story of Christopher 'Ian' Gladue and How Native Delights Came To Be
by Rondell Gladue
On December 4th, 2012, Christopher 'Ian' Gladue set forth and officially registered ‘Native Delights’ as a legally recognized business name. After spending some time working in the field of oil and gas extraction, he saved his money and pursued a dream that had seeded close to a decade earlier. At that time he had worked for a mobile concession called ‘Rez Boys’ that vended along the Alberta Pow-Wow circuit. Gladue thought that this particular type of food, that was specific to only Pow-Wow's, should actually be available everywhere and shared with everyone thus initiating the start of his aspiration of making this notion a reality. He began fabricating his very own custom-built concession vending cart from the frame up. Come April 4th, 2013, he was able to have his own concession cart pass inspection from the City of Edmonton and Alberta Health Services despite failing all previous attempts a multitude of times. He had persevered and actually fabricated the first certified 'Class C High-Risk Mobile Unit' recognized in the Province of Alberta. Not being one to ever give up in the face of adversity, Ian then set out to Churchill Square in Edmonton, Alberta. With his long-time friend Curtis Cardinal, they proceeded to share what they described as ‘Aboriginal Cuisine’ to the general public for the first time in Alberta’s capital city. Ian and Curtis had sold ‘Bannock Burgers’ and ‘Rez Dogs’ which were made from ‘Bannock’. 'Bannock' is a traditional Aboriginal bread that can be either roasted on a stick over an open fire, baked in the oven, or the more popular deep-fried variety (such as their case). With snow still on the ground and the men not too sure of what to expect, they soon found that they had completely sold out their very first day.
‘Native Delights’ proceeded to grow not only in popularity but also in size. As people from all cultures began to acquire a taste for the Bannock, ‘Native Delights’ began to be sought out to appear at a variety events. Not only were they in attendance at Pow-Wow’s but suddenly they were attending major events such as Big Valley Jamboree, Boonstock, K-Days, International Raceway, International Beerfest and Canada’s largest food festival, Taste of Edmonton. Even former City of Edmonton Mayor, Stephen Mandel, had attended Ian's residence in person to request ‘Native Delight’s’ attendance at a special event. In February 2014, ‘Native Delights’ proceeded to grow as the business was able to purchase a full-sized mobile concession trailer. In April 2014, Native Delights also opened a concession inside Osman Auction which operated two days per week. In February 2015, Ian was able to realize his dream of opening his very first restaurant location on 118th Avenue in the city of Edmonton. The restaurant has seen much love and support by all and hosted its official ‘Grand Opening’ on Saturday, April 25th, 2015. Eventually though, the Restaurant was closed and Native Delights moved to a Restaurant Kiosk inside the SuperFlea Market at 12011 111 Avenue NW in Edmonton. The Kiosk operates every weekend.
Ian Gladue’s story is one that is inspiring and hopeful to say the least. He originally is from the Bigstone Cree Nation and spent his younger years living in Wabasca, Alberta where his father Bernard Gladue hails from. He went on to live in Slave Lake, Wetaskawin, Hobbema, and some time in the N.W.T. as his mother Jacqueline Masuzumi originates from Ft. Good Hope, N.W.T. Ian had spent most of his years though in Edmonton and calls the city ‘home’. Ian has had to face adversity as he overcame much abuse, homelessness at a young age, battled addiction, gangs, violence, imprisonment and a near-death experience that left him hospitalized for months. He had to re-learn how to walk and is forever scarred from burns on 30% of his body. Ian obviously has turned his life around and strives to walk a path of sobriety, positivity, truth, and love. He attributes this to his traditional Indigenous spiritual teachings and beliefs as well as his children Mercedes, Paige, Bodhi and Kai.
Today Native Delights now has a Restaurant Kiosk that operates every weekend inside the SuperFlea market at 12011 111 Avenue NW, Edmonton. Native Delights also has a brand new Concession Trailer. Ian has found himself working tirelessly as a successful entrepreneur (Pansawan), father, and husband. His wife, Rondell (Desjarlais), has come to find herself working in a collaborative partnership to assist Ian with the business operations of Native Delights as Co-owner. Many of Ian's family and friends have also played a substantial role in the progress, development and support of his dream business to which he is grateful to no end.
Much love is received daily from the valued supporters of Native Delights. The success of the business is a direct result of those people as well as the committed team that has worked along side Ian to make Native Delights what it is today. The most sincerest gratitude must also go to these people.
WE THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING AN ABORIGINAL AND FAMILY OWNED SMALL BUSINESS. ÂYIHÂY!
Photo by: http://www.steinhauerphotography.ca