It’s good to buy directly from Indigenous makers and vendors but it’s especially appreciated this winter, as the pandemic has dealt a lousy hand to small business owners and BIPOC communities alike. Here are some ways to support Indigenous entrepreneurs and find some of the most beautiful Indigenous-made gifts this holiday season.
Many Indigenous-made gift guides are on social media
Some Indigenous Instagrammers are curating holiday shopping guides that promote their fave Indigenous-created finds. Find everything from jewellery to books to natural body products in the gift guides below.
Use the Shop First Nations Directory
There’s an extensive directory of Indigenous businesses on Shop First Nations, an initiative from Rob Schulz and James Delorme, have also released a multi-part holiday guide and a now sold-out gift box for 2020.
Take note of any approaching holiday deadline dates ― if you’re hoping for packages to arrive before Christmas, it might be best to purchase from retailers close to your area or those with storefronts that offer curbside pick-up. Below are a selection of Indigenous makers and vendors we recommend:
Inspired by her grandmothers, Stephanie Peltier is renowned for creating dazzling earring sets that make a statement. Peltier’s highly reviewed beginner beading kit is an Etsy favourite, with people singing the praises of the kit’s simple instructions and great colour selection.
The Francophone Ojibway Aniishnabee Kwe beadwork artist is based in Ottawa and counts Sophie Grégoire Trudeau among her customers.
Keep your feet cosy all winter in the authentically crafted footwear by this Winnipeg-based company, which come in adult and kid sizes.
Whether you’re giving a gift to someone who adores Baby Yoda or nature, you can make their walls look amazing with art by Luke Swinson.
The Kitchener, Ont.-based Anishinaabe illustrator and muralist offers art prints, card bundles, and stickers.
The flyest basketball you’ve ever seen, laser-cut coasters, a hilarious anti-colonialism playing deck à la Cards Against Humanity, and everyday wear with traditional flair are among the top offerings by this family-run design shop.
Run by jeweler Rico Worl and artist Crystal Worl, two Tlingit Athabascan Yupik Filipino siblings based in Alaska, the company offers shipping to Canada.
This Saskatoon storefront specializes in vintage finds that reflect local rural “fauna, flora and fashion,” as well as coveted wellness lines.
Indigenous entrepreneur Michaela Michael founded this store that prides itself on prioritizing high-quality pieces and simple designs, according to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.
Founder Leigh Joseph’s thoughtfully harvested ingredients are the stars of this small batch skincare and beauty brand.
These products have been created drawing on plant expertise from the unceded territories of Squamish First Nation. They can be purchased online from Skwálwen Botanicals’ website, picked up locally by B.C. residents or from retail partners, stockists, such as Hazlewood.
Searching for face masks with gorgeous Indigenous designs inspired by the west coast and prairies? Look no further ― the B.C.-based seller Scarlett J. Designs has you covered.
Its owner Karlene, who goes by her first name on the store’s website, describes herself as a Métis mom of two who started the venture after her dresses became popular. Her bestsellers include the “Legend” design, a reversible mask featuring loons and fish, and flower-patterned masks.
Etsy drops from the five-starred store BeadsAgainstFascism are highly anticipated, with many popular beaded pins promoting social causes.
Ray, the Cree artist behind the beadwork, has many return customers whose reviews often compliment their attention to detail.
Carefully crafted gift boxes and an extensive section for kids are two big draws for holiday shoppers.
Located in Whistler, B.C., this cultural centre ships their wares worldwide.
Clean your act up with handcrafted soaps, essential oil blends, and natural hygiene products by this Yukon-based brand.
As well as caring about their customers’ skin, the company also cares about fellow community members. APTN News reported that founder Joella Hogan, of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun First Nation, called on major Canadian retailers in October to allot some space on their shelves for Indigenous businesses.
Following the breakout success of their lip products on the indie cosmetics scene, St. Catherines, Ont.-based Cheekbone Beauty has become a bona fide force in the cruelty-free makeup industry.
Anishinaabe business owner Jennifer Harper has headed the enterprise with a constant commitment to charity; 10 per cent of all proceeds go towards the First Nations youth education initiative Shannen’s Dream.
Land-inspired wearable art from Cree creative Charly Gilpin never fails to dazzle.
Don’t see your favourite Indigenous seller or retailer? Feel free to mention them in the comments below, as we’ll be updating this list regularly.
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