For Pam Montour and Mike Paul, the idea of opening their own business came on a whim.
“My brother and I just decided, ‘let’s try something for the summer, see how it goes,’” said Montour.
The siblings from Woodstock First Nation held the grand opening of Wabanacos Food Stand on March 11 at the New Brunswick Provincial Exhibition in Fredericton. The stall, which will be open on weekends until the end of summer, serves up “Indian tacos” and fried bread.
Montour said the “Indian tacos,” as they’re commonly known, are a popular food during powwows. A large piece of fried bread serves as the taco’s shell before getting topped with chilli, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and sour cream.
She admits that she didn’t like the term and initially intended to call the menu item the same name as the business, a combination of “Wabanaki” and “taco.” But after some traction on social media prior to opening, Montour said she knew it would be a hit.
“Everybody loves an Indian taco,” she said.
Montour moved back to New Brunswick three years ago after being away from home for around 30 years. She currently does some work related to Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls with the Government of New Brunswick.
When she learned there was a vacant food stall at the exhibition grounds around two months ago, she jumped at the chance.
“My brother has been wanting to have a little catering business, so I said, ‘well, let’s just do it,’” said Montour. “They were very excited here at the [Fredericton Exhibition Grounds] to have something different.”
As soon as they put a post on Facebook sharing the news, they received a flood of excited messages.
Judie Acquin visited the stand shortly before 1 p.m. on opening day. After finding out when the stand would open through Facebook, she said she wanted to stop by and support a business she feels is a nice example of Indigenous cuisine.
“It’s something that we see all the time when we are travelling through the powwow trails and different gatherings and whatnot,” said Acquin. “So, it’s nice to see some people that I know doing something really cool outside of our normal circle.”
Montour said Wabanacos’ grand opening received a good turnout, with many people from other First Nations communities stopping by to support the business. She said it feels nice to be able to run a business with her brother and she hopes more people can visit the stand.