Press Releases


Today Ellen Melcosky of Westbank was recognized in a special ceremony in Ottawa at the House of Commons. The special occasion was to acknowledge that Melcosky was chosen as a 2010 National Aboriginal Achievement Award (NAAA) Business and Commerce Award Recipient.  Melcosky owns and operates Little Miss Chief, a well known brand of smoked salmon, in Westbank, BC. For the past 15 years she has shared her smoked salmon products with the world. The 100% Aboriginal owned business has created employment for everyone from fishermen to artists, turning her business acumen into a highly acclaimed success story. Melcosky is Shuswap, a member of the Esketemc First Nation (formerly known as Alkali) located in the Cariboo/Chilcotin area of British Columbia. It all started on October 8th when she was on her usual route servicing her customers.  She received a call from Roberta Jamieson; President/CEO of National Aboriginal Business Achievement Foundation (NAAF) telling her she had been nominated AND selected as the winner of the NAAA Business and Commerce Award. “I was speechless and honoured to win the award, not only for myself, but for all the pioneering First Nations women including my mother and grandmother.” “I know I never could have done this without my husband of 43 years always believing in my dream, encouraging me and supporting me 100% and all of the family and friends that believed in me,” said Melcosky.  That plus the hundreds of thousands of consumers worldwide who have come to know and love her gourmet smoked salmon made from her own secret Okanagan recipe. Melcosky says she is humbled by this award “because I know that without the support of the above mentioned and the support of my creditors and their believing in Little Miss Chief I wouldn’t have come this far.” Melcosky also wants to acknowledge Georgette Johnson, owner of Turtle Island Gallery in Kelowna, for nominating her and to the wonderful people that wrote support letters on her behalf: Steven Cipes, Prop. Summerhill Estate Winery in Kelowna; Brianne Swetlishoff, Wine shop Mgr., Summerhill Estate Winery in Kelowna; Bruce Letendre, President World Registry of Wills in Peachland, and Mr. Ruud Janssen of Pacific Salmon Imports in The Netherlands. This award is a ‘hat trick’ for Melcosky who in 12 months has won three business achievement awards: the Canadian Aboriginal Minority Suppliers Business Achievement award in October of 2008, the BC 2009 Aboriginal Business Award in January of 2009 and now the National Aboriginal Achievement award. Melcosky will be returning home to the Okanagan on November 18th. The National Aboriginal Achievement Awards show will be held in Regina, Saskatchewan on March 26th, 2010.