We’ve been covering #smallbusinesses in YEG this week, but we would be doing a huge disservice to the greater #LocalGoodnessYEG economic community if we didn’t make a pointed effort to further emphasize that the services, spaces, and products that Indigenous and Métis artist and maker retailers, as well as other small businesses run and cultivated by members of our vibrant Indigenous and Mètis communities, are still available and running strong! It’s time to show our #yeglove and prop up these essential members of Edmonton’s community with all the support they deserve!
Why it’s so important
Being on Treaty 6 territory, and honestly, for a million and one more reasons than that, it is important to acknowledge and support the Indigenous and Mètis peoples who share this territory (that was stolen from them!) with us. Edmonton–originally named in Cree for its proximity to the eastern Beaver Hills–has a wide range of Indigenous and Mètis independent owners, makers and artists serving the cultural and material needs of Edmontonians across the board, and so it is both our duty and our pleasure to give back and help continue the renewing and rebuilding of those cultures and ties that were lost to colonialism.
These acts of kindness go a long way in putting the onus for reconciliation on ourselves: teaching us that we must step up and be the first to give back to those who have already given too much.
In short, we must make an effort to support these businesses as much as, if not more than, we commit to supporting local in other ways throughout the community. The success of these businesses and artists and makers are representative of the greatness that our communities can achieve when we embrace reconciliation and diversity, so make sure to show your support today, especially if you have the privilege to do so.
With your money today, explore some online shops or the local Indigenous Arts Market and make sure to purchase a gift for yourself or a loved one. You might want to sign up for a Native Studio Art class online, or choose a local Indigenous or Mètis contractor over a big-name enterprise for added care and commitment.
There are a ton of to-dos on everyone’s list these days, so check out Edmonton’s Indigenous Shopping Guide to check out the competitive options for some of the services you already need or enjoy. And in the meantime:
Here are 7 Indigenous Makers, Artists, and Businesses you should check out RIGHT NOW:
- Mamawi Creations
- Maker of Indigenous Hand-beaded Jewelry
- Instagram: @mamawicreations
- Kookum’s House
- Smudge Boxes, Burners and Bowls Smudging Feathers and Sprays Candles and Incense
- Instagram: @kookumshouse
- Etsa Bee
- Photographer/ Artist
- Facebook page
- Scott Iserhoff + Pei Pei Chei Ow Catering
- Local Indigenous Chef and Caterer
- Instagram: @pei_pei_chei_ow
- Heather Shillinglaw
- Public and Mixed Media Visual Artist helping young artist learners
- Instagram: #heathershillinglaw
- Native Delights
- An Edmonton restaurant with delicious homemade meals—offering delivery!
- Mother Earth Essentials
- A Canadian indigenous-owned company that creates luxurious bath & beauty products from natural ingredients and traditional recipes.
Use Your Noodle
Today, take some time to put your head where your heart is, and get smart about some of the issues facing predominantly Indigenous peoples and businesses during this pandemic. You can study the Indigenous Edmonton Directory for great local resources and services that you can share with your friends and family, and help start local conversations with friends on economic resilience, Indigenous rights and perspectives, and other localized information on how you can raise your expectations for diversified buying for when you’re making purchases in the future.
You can also check out some of the great works of Indigenous and Mètis art available online and around Edmonton’s great outdoors for free, listed below. Do an online gallery tour with your friends over the phone, and check out what Edmonton’s best have to offer:
Raise Your Voice for our Indigenous Artisans, Businesses, and Makers!
Oftentimes, the reality is that it’s tough for Indigenous and Mètis businesses to be heard above the myriad other businesses trying to make their way. It’s time to show your support and use your voice to elevate the efforts, expressions, and products of those businesses, makers, and artists by liking, sharing, and commenting on their own awareness and branding efforts to be heard. This is also a great chance for you to share some of the learning and knowledge you’ve gained as you’ve explored Edmonton’s Indigenous business landscape.
Together, these great people make up the fabric of our city, and adding your voice in favour of their support is something we can all do to signal for change!
Want to spread some extra #LocalGoodnessYEG to the Indigenous and Mètis makers and businesses in our city today? Give them a shout-out behind the hashtag on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and you’ll be automatically entered to win a basket of goodies from a bunch of local businesses right here at home!
(Header Photo from Michif Cultural Connections)