New store with connections to Kanata Trade Co. surfaces

Hoif Trading Post surfaces as Kanata Trade Co. closed down

As two Toronto twins who claimed they were Inuit are asked to pay back the money they received through Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures program, it appears their mother, Karima Manji, continues to be involved with a company selling Indigenous art.

Amira and Nadya Gill were removed from the Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) membership list after an investigation by the organization in April 2023.

According to NTI and Qikiqtani Inuit Association, the Inuit advocacy organizations have asked the RCMP to investigate the actions of the Gill sisters and their mother, Karima Manji.

“The three women applied for enrolment under the Nunavut Agreement in 2016 (Gills) and 2018 (Manji),” said the statement emailed to APTN News in April.

“In 2016, the Iqaluit Community Enrolment Committee reviewed and approved the applications of Amira and Nadya, relying on information provided in their application that they had an Inuk birth mother. The application had been made by Karima Manji who claimed to be their adoptive mother.”

In 2015, Manji, was charged with defrauding March of Dimes, a charity that works with people with disabilities, for nearly $800,000.

According to records obtained by APTN, Karima was ordered to pay back $250,000.

New store emerges

Screenshot of Kanata Trade Co., which sells similar products to Hoif Trading Post.

While the NTI investigation was ongoing, a new website called Hoif Trading Post has sprung up selling similar products to Kanata Trade Co.

A post on this new website says: “We are a group of friends in our senior years starting an online business to support our families, friends, and our communities. We want to share our passions with you.”

And the business appears to be controlled by a man who goes by Ernie or Ernest Ouimet.

Hoif Trading Post
Screenshot from Hoif Trading Post website.

“My name is Ernie Ouimet. I am originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba. My heritage ties me to the Métis, but I see myself more as an ally to Indigenous people. I’ve worked across Canada doing various jobs in my lifetime and I haven’t always kept in touch with my heritage; I’m now on a journey to rediscover my past,” said the post.

Change in ownership

When Kanata Trade Co. was under scrutiny for its claims to be an Indigenous-led organization, Ernie Ouimet was listed on the corporate website as the person to which the company was being transferred.

One of the iterations of the Kanata Trade Co. website listed Ouimet as belonging to “the Lake Winnipegosis community” in Manitoba.

There is a community called Winnipegosis, nearly 400 km from Winnipeg, but it is not specifically a Métis community.

According to corporate records obtained by APTN, a numbered company that registered the trade name Hoif Trading Post listed Amira Gill as a Director in December 2016.

As of May 10, Amira Gill was no longer listed as the director of the numbered company, and Manji was listed as a person authorizing filing (PAF) for the company.

On May 16 the PAF was changed to Ernest Ouimet.

APTN messaged the email address on the Hoif Trading Post website and a person claiming to be Ouimet responded.

“I’m not interested in talking to you. HOIF Trading Post is my own business and I don’t have anything to do with Kanata,” the writer said in the email.

The email writer would not speak on the phone or verify their identity, but claimed they were the owner of the business.

Read more:

Toronto twins’ claim of being Inuit nets thousands in scholarship money from various organizations

Nunavut RCMP says it’s looking into case of Toronto twins who claim to be Inuit

The corporate address for Hoif Trading Post is listed to a property that, based on a title search, is owned by Karima Manji.

When asked about this, the email writer from the Hoif Trading Post account said, “I use this as my corporate address. She has nothing to do with this business and I have nothing to do with Kanata. Do not try and ruin my business by associating my business to Kanata.”

The same Facebook account that was owned by Karima Manji, who previously went by Nancy Jackson, has been reactivated and is posting for Hoif Trading Post.

In a Facebook thread, Manji denies that Hoif Trading Post has any connection to Kanata Co.

Publicly available information shows the Instagram account called Hoif Trading Post has changed its name three times, but the name changes are not public.

Screenshots obtained by APTN show the Hoif Trading Post account previously sent messages to people in March 2023 mentioning Kanata Trade Co., while purporting to be an Indigenous student raising money for Indigenous students.

APTN was not able to verify Ouimet’s claim to Métis identity.

Multiple calls, emails, direct messages and texts to Manji have not been answered. Attempts have also been made to contact Ouimet through Facebook.

Contribute Button