An important part of being an ally and working towards reconciliation is supporting Indigenous economy and this holiday season we’re celebrating the Indigenous creators in these communities that have historically been overshadowed by their colonial counterparts. In 1867, through the Indian Act, Indigenous inherent economic rights were systematically stripped. The Indian Act contained a permit system to control First Nations’ ability to sell products off the reserves. This oppression took away the opportunity for intergenerational wealth, which made way to generations of financial struggle and trauma.
Economic reconciliation is where we each can make an impact every day. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 10 Indigenous brands to support this holiday season (or anytime!). This is only 10 of over 60,000 Indigenous businesses across Canada, so continue doing your own research to find more Indigenous businesses near you.
Indigo Arrows is an Anishinaabe line that offers a range of table linens, pillows, and blankets that showcase patterns from Indigenous pottery and bone tools from 400 to over 3000 years ago. These beautiful textiles are the perfect gift for someone who loves linen and knit decor.
Image sourced from @indigo_arrows.
Warren Steven Scott
Warren Scott is a member of the Nlaka’pamux Nation who uses a modern image of fashion through an Indigenous lens in his design. His line includes bright, unique and fun clothing, earrings and artwork.
Image sourced from @warrenstevenscott.
Satya is a skin care brand that uses organic materials including calendula petals, almond oil, organic beeswax, pressed jojoba and colloidal oatmeal. Patrice (the creator) started the brand to help cure her daughter’s eczema in a natural way. She used traditional medicine and academic studies to find the perfect ingredient combination to care for your skin.
Image sourced from @satyaorganic.
Jazz Aline is a Canadian multidisciplinary artist born and raised on Treaty 1 land with a love for storytelling through visual arts. The artist explains her work saying “My work speaks from my personal experiences and visions in hope to reach those who need my hand, those who need my eyes, and those who need my voice.” This artwork will provide a beautiful addition to any art lover’s collection.
Image sourced from @art.by.jazz.aline.
Ginew (Gih-noo) is the only Native American-owned denim line. They draw direct inspiration from their cultures and relatives. Their line includes bandanas, coats, jeans, tops, jewelry, and tops. This line has the perfect gift for any fashion loving friend or family member.
Image sourced from @ginew_usa.
Sḵwálwen (skwall-win) translates to “heart” or “essence of being” in the Squamish language. Leigh, the creator, is from the Skwxwú7mesh First Nation and is an ethnobotanist and researcher who focuses on contributing to cultural knowledge renewal (especially relating to plant foods and medicines). Her creative process includes spending time on the land to harvest plants, the processing of plants and the pairing of particular plants with oils, clays and plant butters.
Image sourced from @skwalwenbotanicals.
Aly McKnight is an indigenous artist from the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe who believes art “has a way of connecting people, illuminating our stories, and inspiring change in the world that no other form of communication can.” She uses bright watercolour that features organic subject matter reflecting a connection to all living things. Through her work she aims to reclaim stories and influence the decolonization of minds related to ‘what is considered beautiful and valued’.
Image sourced from @alymcknight.
Beam Paints are handmade watercolour paints made from lightfast pigments, tree sap, gum arabic and Manitoulin honey. The creators background involves harvesting pigments from the LaCloche mountain range near M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island. This brand sells gift sets, ceramic palettes, travel kits, single colours and colour sets.
Image sourced from @beampaints.
Birch Bark Coffee Co.
Birch Bark Coffee is dedicated to bringing clean drinking to Indigenous communities suffering from watering advisories using money from their coffee sales. To date, there have been more than 153 ‘Boiled Water Advisories’ listed on the Canadian federal government’s website. However, there are is still minimal government action to prioritize this issue. This coffee is a great gift for a loved one and helps contribute to clean water initiatives.
Image sourced from Birch Bark Coffee Company.
4 Kinship is a Diné artwear brand that produces handcrafted upcycled and repurposed products inspired by the Southwest. This includes beautiful clothing, jewelry, bags, blankets, rugs and baskets.
Image sourced from @4kinship.
As settlers on this land, we all have more to learn and that begins with listening. Learn more about the colonial history of this country and the importance of acknowledging and holding space for these historical traumas.