Beandigen Café extends an Indigenous welcome

Beandigen Café owners Paula Naponse and her daughter Jayde Micah-Naponse

By Marie Briscoe

Beandigen Café on Exhibition Way at Lansdowne Park is a recent addition to the Glebe. It is owned and run by Paula Naponse and her daughter Jayde Micah-Naponse, and it showcases Indigenous art along with serving coffee, drinks and snacks.

The name Beandigen loosely translates to “welcome” from their Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway) dialect, and that is the goal of the café – to make everyone feel welcome. As soon as you walk in, you are met with a colourful display of art on each side and tables to sit at while enjoying great coffee and food. While offering some baked goods, including bannock, they are working to expand their menu with other traditional food.

“We miss our home, and this provides a little piece of home,” said Naponse. “Ottawa needed a place for Indigenous people to gather, celebrate and display art and food in a social environment. The café also allows non-indigenous people in the Ottawa community to learn about Indigenous culture.” That is what most distinguishes the café from other places, she added. “We are Anishnawbe owned and operated, and the focus is on Indigenous goods. This will never change.”

Beandigen was the winner of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group’s Lansdowne pop-up proposal competition last summer, and it had a grand opening on November 12 with music, prayers and speeches by the owners and representatives of Lansdowne Park and Tourism Ottawa. Naponse and Micah-Naponse were grateful for the opportunity and hope that they can make the shop a permanent fixture at Lansdowne. They have extended their lease until this December.

Both Naponse and Micah-Naponse are artisans from Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation near Sudbury. Micah-Naponse moved to Ottawa in 2012 for university, and her family followed in 2015 for work. Both have been selling their art online and were excited to have the opportunity to display it in person. Originally the café was to feature their own silkscreened items (Ondarez Clothing and Goods) and beaded work (Jayde Micah Design). They quickly realized they could also include the work of other Indigenous artisans. What they now have available includes paintings, beadwork, clothing, blankets and sewing. They are also planning to host workshops and events such as Indigenous Day, moccasin making, silk screening, quill art, paint nights and beading workshops. Down the road, catering small events is a possibility, and so is opening another location in their own community.

The café did well after opening last November, but it had to close in January because of COVID. Things were slow in February and March, but now they are looking forward to the summer months. They love their location at Lansdowne and have found the Glebe in general to be very welcoming. Most of their advertising has been through Instagram and Facebook, and they have had customers from across the city.

The owners agreed to share their recipe for bannock. Micah-Naponse says it is best served warm, with butter, jam or other tasty spreads.

But if you’d rather not bake, you can stop by the café to try the bannock along with your preferred drink. Take the opportunity to browse the art and crafts for sale. Beandigen is located right beside Goodlife Fitness.

You can watch for coming events at Beandigen on Instagram @beandigencafe or on Facebook. Their email is

Beandigen Café Bannock


  1. 3 cups flour
  2. 2 tbsp. baking powder
  3. 1 tsp. salt
  4. 1 tbsp. sugar (optional)
  5. 1 ½ cups water or milk
  6. ½ cup vegetable oil


Combine dry ingredients.

Combine vegetable oil with water (or milk) and add to the dry ingredients. It is important not to overmix the dough. It should just barely come together.

Grease a large non-stick ovenproof pan, add the dough and bake at 350 F for 25 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. If you would rather fry the Bannock, grease the frying pan and cook over medium heat. You can make two patties of dough and heat on both sides until golden brown.

Marie Briscoe is a long-time Glebe resident and graduate of Carleton University. She is retired from the public service.

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