Have a Happy Indigenous Holiday Season: Part 1

In Buy Native, happy holidays, holiday shopping, Indigenous arts by Adrienne K.14 Comments

It’s a good season to be Indigenous! I hope everyone had a safe and happy Turkey Day (or You’re Welcome Day, or Thanks-taking day, or Day of Mourning, however you chose to celebrate/not celebrate). I’ve had an incredibly busy month, which I’m sure you noticed, given the lack of anything up here. But back to the blog!

I often extol the merits of “buying Native” or purchasing from a Native artisan whenever possible, and as the holidays approach, it’s a wonderful time to put that ideology into practice. Jessica Metcalfe at Beyond Buckskin has been putting together a fabulous series of posts on the Native artists on Etsy, and I wanted to share some of her resources on here as well. She’s going to be continually posting for the rest of the month, so be sure and check back in! (lots more after the jump)

Jessica’s Posts:

Post 1: Holiday Shopping Guide: Support Native Artists and Small Businesses on Etsy

Beautiful beaded cuff from Sparkle and Bead‘s Etsy shop

Post 2: Spotlight on Etsy Seller Ndnchick

 Gorgeous beaded necklace–only $50!

Post 3: Etsy Treasury Lists (Jessica put together some beautiful themed lists!)

Native American Red Red Christmas” (my personal favorite)
And, for those of you in the New England area, there is also an awesome Native Arts Show going on this Saturday (Dec. 3rd):
Then there is the always great Demockratee’s site (by Ryan Redcorn, of the 1491’s and Buffalo Nickel Creative):
And Native Threads, a great family-run Indian clothing and apparel company, located in my hometown of San Diego:
Finally, Cheef Clothing, the maker of my favorite sweatshirt (It says “I was here first”): The website is down, but hopefully will be back up soon!
If you have other websites, Art shows, resources, or companies that will help us all Buy Native this holiday season, please leave them in the comments! Stay tuned for Part 2, where I’ll share some amazing Native organizations/causes that would love your holiday support. 
PS- a FB commenter from NZ pointed out that many Etsy sellers don’t ship internationally, so any global resources would be very much appreciated too. 
PPS- I made that “Buy Native” logo in Microsoft Word! I’m such a techie! ha.
Beyond Buckskin:
Harvard Native Program:
(Thanks Dr. Metcalfe!)
  • my_littleocean

    This is great! I may have to pass this along to my readers. Thank you!

  • Scott

    Thanks for continuing posting; sometimes I think you have left the blogosphere. As a person of the tri cultures, raised in the state of the tri cultures, I don’t enjoy the topics that come up, but I find them thought provoking and find it useful in my classroom. I teach Business and Entrepreneurship at a high school in Reno and I am able to draw marketing and ethics lessons from you and other writers around the world. We are just starting our unit on business plans, and this article will be very helpful.
    Just Thanks

  • Scott

    I need to clarify something, By not enjoying the topics, I mean they bring up things that were talked about with family and friends, that do not make me proud of some of my cultures

  • Rachel Kantstopdaphunk

    yay! great gift ideas! If we simply must listen to that godawful music for the next month, let’s at least drop some dolla’s on indigenous artisans :)

  • Aaron Yazzie

    2 other really awesome Native graphic artists who make t-shirts and other merchandise.

    OxDx Clothing:


    • Adrienne_K

      Thanks Yaz! Miss you!

  • Shinaabikwe

    Hey! it’s that wonderful picture of us! I like how you can see your turquoise earring and my beaded/quill barrette. Both made by Native artists as well. hollaaaa
    miss you!

  • dscokween

    Salt Lake City is having their annual Holiday Arts Market at the Indian Walk-in Center December 3 and 4. 1300 S 131 W http://www.iwic.org.

    I made a treasury list last month:
    it looks like a couple of things are no longer listed, but some really great artists and collectives of artists are over on etsy – definitely worth spending time to look.

  • dscokween

    oh and here’s a great artist/vendor I met a bit over a year ago. I’m not sure where they sell their product, but you can contact them via facebook…their sweatshirts are amazing!


  • Zoe

    Bear Claw Gallery (http://www.bearclawgallery.com/) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada is a really great gallery that carries work from Inuit, Métis, and Native artists from across Canada.

    The Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada has an amazing collection of Inuit art, everything from prints, to Pang hats, to soapstone carvings, to seal broaches and hair clips. I can’t find a website for them but this is their contact info Bldg 212, Iqaluit, NU X0A 0H0 867-979-5537. They will ship, but it will cost an arm and a leg (shipping to and from the Canadian North is expensive).

  • Parallelmonsoon

    Honest question…

    As a non-Native, would it be acceptable for me to wear any of this beautiful pieces? Regardless of where I purchased them from? Or am I still going to be looked down upon for appropriating the culture…especially since it isn’t like anyone who sees me wearing a beaded cuff is going to know WHERE I bought it from. I’d like to purchase something from a native artist, but it seems like I’m better off just leaving well enough alone…and that frankly seems rather sad and insular.

    • An excellent question. I’m sorry no one has answered it, possibly because some are scared to because they don’t want to answer “wrong” & offend other readers. Reality is that, yes, some Native people would look down on a non-Native person (or even a Native person who doesn’t “look” Native enough in their narrow-minded view) wearing some/any of these items. I’ve seen it, heard it, and corrected it more than once. The seller would be limited to a pretty small base to sell to if only Natives of their own tribe were allowed to buy their pieces which defeats the purpose of them trying to sell & they aren’t asking each buyer for their ethnicity (I’m sure) when they make a sale.

      For me, appropriation is in the attitude. A fashion shoot called “Going Native” with a bunch of jumbled Native cultures & faux Native looks with no identification of where they took the authentic pieces (if any) from is appropriation. But a photo shoot called “Native Wearable Art” that identifies the culture & artist each piece is from & doesn’t camp up the models in faux Native “costumes” is not appropriation to me. It’s helping teach people about Native fashion designers & jewelry/accessory artists & even a bit about culture while helping Native people make some money from their art.

      For myself it depends on what the item is. If it has a ceremonial significance, then even I don’t wear it if I’m not involved in that specific Native culture or the specific ceremony. But if it’s just a pretty or attractive piece of jewelry I don’t criticize anyone for wearing it. I have Pueblo pottery & Maliceet Jewelry & my family is Oglala Lakota & Mohawk/Iroquois. It would be hypocritical for me to criticize someone for doing the same thing I am.

      Many of these items are simply lovely pieces of wearable art. If you’re unsure if an item has ceremonial significance, ask the artist. Most will be happy to answer your questions if you ask in the same manner that you asked your question here.

    • I don’t see any problem with a non-indigenous person buying non-sacred jewelry. Appropriating sacred jewelry, or wearing cheep, stereotyped, mass produced crap is an issue, but not wearing a beaded bracelet sold by a First Nations artist to a non-indigenous market. I don’t think many other people have a problem with it either. In fact, that has been discussed several times in earlier entries on this blog.

      The main issue with non-sacred jewelry is that mass produced “Indian” jewelry takes money from indigenous artisans. People wonder why our jewelry costs so much when they can buy cheep plastic stuff made in China for five bucks. It gets really frustrating. If it is well made, people can tell the difference between an object made by an artisan and one marketed for mass consumption.

      Other than that I don’t see why one or two pieces of jewelry would be a problem, unless you went all out “playing Indian”, which is another thing entirely. Sometimes you get a purist who calls out anyone who isn’t native, or isn’t native enough, but in my experience (I’m mixed) people ignore them.

      It’s good that you’re thinking about these things. I wouldn’t be too afraid of the things linked to above. If someone gives you a hard time, talk to them, maybe think about whether there is something you weren’t aware of that is causing the offense. If they still seem unreasonable then just don’t wear the piece around them.

  • I just wanted to say thank you for writing this blog. I stumbled upon it by accident looking up something else. While I realize there is a lot of conflicting opinions in the comments, I’ve learned a great deal about appropriation that I was previously confused about, I am particularly thankful for this. I am fascinated by other cultures, I could easily have fallen into appropriating aesthetically pleasing qualities of cultures I knew nothing about. I plan to learn more, and opt out of perpetuating something that hurts others. Thank you for the opportunity to learn.