This holiday season (or really any time,) I might suggest the PERFECT Christmas gift just may be made, created and sold by an awesome indigenous artist or entrepreneur.
Below is a list of some of my favorite Native-owned artists, shops, and companies to purchase from, as well as books and lists others have gathered. It’s admittedly heavy on the Tlingit coolness but… well, you’ve probably met me. That’s just how it is.
I’d LOVE if you’d add to the list in the comments, and/or share it on your own page. Purchasing these kind of gifts not only gets you or someone you love an awesome, authentically Native-created gift, but is wonderful for Native artists, authors, and business owners themselves, contributing wonderfully to the economy of the community.
Cool Tlingit-design clothing, basketballs, jewelry, stickers, books.
Carved beautiful Tlingit things, sea otter fur pillows, canned salmon, home goods.
Artist Steven Paul Judd’s amazing tshirts, stickers, and so, so much Indigenous coolness.
Soaps and oils and lotions and wonderful things from ingredients harvested right here in Alaska.
Art, art, more Native art! Drums, masks, jewelry.
A growing online store with books, beauty, art, medicinals.
And if you want a CUSTOM cedar hat, or awesome halibut hook necklace, or other wonderful things? Dona and Linda Starbard (a.k.a. Most Talented Parents Ever)
Awesome kid’s books (board and picture), as well as lots of language resources.
Books for Kids and Teens by Indigenous Authors (lists)
Last year, my friend Ayyu Qassataq compiled a Facebook list of indigenous Alaskan artists she loves, and it’s a GOOD LIST. Here’s her post (most links are Facebook pages):
As we are swinging into the season where the pressure is on to buy, buy, buy *stuff* that demonstrates our love and affection for one another, might I suggest supporting local Alaska Native artists and businesses like the ones below? They are often one-of-a-kind beautiful items, and the purchase supports our artists where they live; a total win-win. Feel free to add to the list in the comments if you know of other great artists, groups, pages or businesses
Alaska Native Made Qaspeqs, Kuspuks, Atikłuks, Be’tsegh/Me’tsegh Hoolaanh
Purchase atikłuks/qaspeqs/be’tsegh hoolaanhs directly from Alaska Native artists all over the state, year round – I have personally purchased quite a few (including from: Emily Leon, SewQuya, and Qaspeqs by Bridget) and they are so beautiful.
Alaska Barter and Seller’s Page
One of my favorite groups to barter, sell and trade with amazing Native artists all over the state – from jewelry to parkas and mukluks, carvings to masks, ulus to mittens… seriously beautiful artistry.
Bering Strait Arts and Crafts
A great group specific to the Bering Strait region, highlighting some of the incredible artistry distinct to our region, including carved ivory art, jewelry, tools and more from Gambell to Unalakleet, Shishmaref to Stebbins – set up and run by Kawerak.
The Athabascan (Na-Dine) peoples are renowned for their incredible beadwork and incorporating smoked moosehide (one of the best smells ever?) into their regalia, jewelry, and much more – this page often makes me wish I was wealthy, lol!
Patkutaq’s Native Alaskan Drums for sale
Patkutaq is an inspiring young Iñupiaq culture bearer who is carrying on our beautiful tradition of drummaking, and he does great work. He is also one of the dance group leaders for Kisagviġmiut Traditional Dancers, which my kids and I are part of… he’s amazing.
An eco-friendly screen printing shop in Fairbanks run and owned by awesome Native folks (like Odin) featuring beautiful designs on great quality clothes – you know how much we Natives love our tees and hoodies, lol.
Bobby Itta Designs
Bobby is a wonder – she makes everything from gorgeous mukluks to edgy, beautiful earring, atikłuks and more.
These Iñupiaq ladies – including Katak – from Kikiktagruk (Kotzebue) are ridiculously awesome – they make and teach how to make beautiful atikłuks, baby mukluks, and just about anything that is sewable – and – they make it look ridiculously easy, “Oh, I sewed this parky on my lunch hour.” LOL, I jokes… but just barely.
Inupiaq Custom Mary Designs
I love watching for Mary’s posts from Noatak about her work making traditional mukluks and parkas – she often posts step by step instructions, and her work is so beautiful.
But I’m going to check out a bunch of these!