It’s easier than ever to put your money where your values are by supporting Indigenous-owned businesses and helping raise Indigenous visibility. As rich with diversity as the cultures that have spanned this land for eons, these businesses offer everything from sustainable beauty and ethically-made fashion, to mind-expanding reads. Coast-to-coast-to-coast, here are some of the many Indigenous-owned brands to love and support.
One of the many woman-owned companies on this list, Mini Tipi offers beautiful, small batch goods designed, cut and sewn in Quebec. Founders Trisha Pitura (hailing from Nipissing First Nation) and Mélanie Bernard collaborate with Indigenous artists and give back to various community initiatives, including local food banks and Indigenous women crisis centers. You can find Mini Tipi’s blankets, shawls, mittens and more at craft markets across Ontario and Quebec, various retailers or online.
Satya Organic Skin Care
If you’ve experienced eczema, then you’re familiar with the dry, itchy sensation and unsightly patches seeking moisturizing relief. At its mildest, it’s an irritation, but at its worst, it can lead to bloody full-limb rashes. Well, Indigenous woman-owned Satya Organic Skin Care offers relief for those with eczema and all skin type with its line of creams made of only five simple, whole and natural ingredients: organic calendula petals, organic cold-pressed sweet almond oil, organic beeswax, organic cold-pressed jojoba, and organic colloidal oatmeal.
See also: Are mushrooms the future of skincare?
Repping Ojibwe, Northwest Angle 33 First Nation, cosmetics entrepreneur Jenn Harper is not only looking to change the game in the cosmetics industry by focusing on sustainable makeup, she is making sure her work leaves a positive lasting impact for those who follow; a portion of Cheekbone Beauty’s profits go towards supporting Indigenous youth. Cheekbone Beauty products are already fan favourites, with meaningful names that honour Indigenous languages. Later this year, you will be able to find Cheekbone Beauty more widely available at Sephora. In the meantime, you can place your orders for lipsticks, eyeliner pencils, and more directly with Cheekbone Beauty. We personally love the Sustain line.
We know cultural appropriation is an issue in fashion and elsewhere, and this problem isn’t new to Indigenous communities across Turtle Island and beyond. Brands looking to make a quick buck have capitalized on various Indigenous cultures’ fashion, patterns and and more by copying deeply-rooted creative cultural expressions and innovations. Case in point: mukluks and moccasins.
Buy these from an Indigenous-owned brand, rather than one that merely copies the aesthetic of this iconic footwear. Manitobah Mukluks sells these and other fashion staples, while also sharing its success with local communities. While the company does outsource some of its production so it can remain competitive with other non-Indigenous-owned brands, many of its iconic products are made in Winnipeg, Manitoba, handcrafted by elders and artisans who are part of Indigenous communities. You can filter the products by selecting “Made in Canada.”
From her more recent athleisure line to beyond, Lesley Hampton is a potent “third culture kid” and creative. You may have seen her designs on the runway, on your social feeds (or on Lizzo!), and with reason: not only is her brand founded with the principles of inclusivity, identity, awareness and heritage at its centre, they often also hold up an important mirror to legacy wrongs.
SheNative is an Indigenous brand of leather goods and apparel “dedicated to elevating our women & girls.” You can find graphic Ts, including one honouring the 215 children whose remains were discovered at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.
Beautiful, unique, locally-made clutches and bags are also available, as are these fringe earrings.
Studies have shown that those who read tend to be more open-minded. Books are often about ideas, and being exposed to others’ points-of-view and life experiences can do wonders to legitimizing these experiences and on our understanding of the world at large. Spread your horizons and seek out Indigenous perspectives through Raven Reads’ subscription box – either for you or for the kids in your life. Try one out, or subscribe for seasonal deliveries for the year. Each box contains:
- A book written by an Indigenous author (Tanya Talaga’s Seven Fallen Feathers was included in a recent box)
- A letter from the author or box curator
- One printed culture card teaching you about an Indigenous culture from around the world
- One Indigenous hand-made craft or art piece
- One literature-themed trinket
Indigenous-owned and operated out of Yukon, you can nevertheless find Yukon Soaps‘ handcrafted essentials in several stores across the country. Products feature the beadwork of local artisans and ingredients native to the north, including wild rose petals, and juniper berries.
Created by 10-year old Mya of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation (an Algonquin band), these colourful handmade scrunchies bring your hair the gentle loving it deserves. You can choose from Kokom Scrunchies’ several collections, including the beaded floral scrunchies, and even add to your scarf collection with one of the many eye-catching Kokom (meaning grandmother) scarves.
Mother Earth Essentials
A lux bath and beauty brand offering products made of natural ingredients using traditional recipes, Mother Earth Essentials was founded by Carrie Armstrong who comes from a long line of Cree Medicine women, and she weaves in the traditional knowledge passed down to her into Mother Earth Essentials soaps, oils, candles, hair care products, and more.