HUMBOLDT — Nîkihk cleaning products, made by a First Nations company, can now be found in Humboldt.
Started during the pandemic, Nîkihk, which means “My Home” in Plains Cree, is the creation of the Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs (BATC) Investment Branch in collaboration with local manufacturers and the Government of Canada.
“During the pandemic the government was giving bursaries out to different bands to provide cleaning products and sanitation products [to] keep people safe,” said Aaron Small, with EnviroWay, which manufactures the products.
“Out of that, three bands around the Battleford area came together… and formed this company called Nîkihk and now there are seven bands throughout Saskatchewan involved in the company.
All products are marketed as naturally derived and biodegradable with no animal testing. Their line includes hand sanitizer, bathroom cleaner, dish soap, laundry powder, kitchen degreasers and multi-surface cleaners.
Jugal Vyas with EnviroWay, said that making the products biodegradable and phosphate-free was a priority as an Indigenous product.
Dave Doepker, owner of Humboldt Sobeys, said that they first heard about the product through the Preston Crossing location in Saskatoon, which were selling “very well.”
After conversations with Vyas and Small, Doepker said Humboldt Sobeys absolutely wanted to carry the product.
“Especially through COVID and stuff, I think we’re starting to realize we don’t want everything shipped. What it costs to ship things and what it does for the environment to ship things from overseas,” Doepker said.
“We're pretty proud to have it here and I'm pretty excited because I think it's going to do very well. From what I understand the product performs exceptionally – it's very concentrated.”
Other places within the region where the products can be found include Chief Island Community Store in Cumberland House Cree Nation, George Home Hardware and Miller’s Market in Melfort, Save U IGA in Nipawin, as well as Co-ops in both Nipawin and Carrot River Co-op.