When settlers arrived in North America, they admired the products of Indigenous artists and artisans. In the midst of the attempted genocide of these Native peoples, a market for Indigenous products sprang up. This market was taken advantage of by settlers who would mimic Indigenous design, a trend that’s continued into the modern day.
Part of economic justice means putting the profits from the sale of Native goods and design back in the hands of Indigenous communities, and one of the best ways we can do that is to support Indigenous businesses.
Founded by siblings Rico and Crystal Worl, the Trickster Company focuses on Northwest Native art, bringing it to modern design. By doing this, they hope to give modern Indigenous people a way to express their heritage, and to give non-Native people the chance to appreciate Indigenous design without engaging in cultural appropriation. Their product lines include apparel, home goods, stationery, and even sporting goods.
Cheekbone Beauty is a company founded by Jennifer Harper, Anishinaabe. The company specializes in creating high quality, cruelty free cosmetic products. The company gives back to the community by making donations to organizations that address the educational funding gap, and since its founding in 2016 has given $56,000 toward that and other causes, including the Navajo Water Project and One Tree Planted.
This small Los Angeles based company, led by CEO & Founder, Joey Montoya, Lipan Apache, focuses on apparel and accessories that bring visibility to modern Indigenous people. They feature casual wear with a variety of design lines, including their popular “You Are On Native Land” line. Urban Native Era is focused on using the most sustainable business practices that they can afford.
Coast Salish Coffee is a Lummi Nation owned coffee company. They’re dedicated to producing ethically sourced coffee, from a cooperative of family farms in Guatemala. Coast Salish Coffee also donates to Lydia Place, an organization dedicated to ending the cycle of homelessness in Bellingham, Washington, and Saved in America, a group focused on finding lost or trafficked children. They’re also dedicated to providing employment opportunities to members of the Lummi Nation.
5. Seka Hills
Seka Hills is a Native owned company offering foods from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. Located in northern California, the company offers olive oils (certified by the California Olive Oil Council), honey, vinegars, and other food products that will delight the foodie in your life. The company is dedicated to using the most sustainable practices available, and to preventing erosion of their cultivated lands in order to protect local waterways.
Ginew is the only Native owned denim retailer. Erik and Amanda, the husband and wife team behind the business (Ojibwe, Oneida, and Mohican), draw on inspiration from their families and histories in creating their premium denim clothing and accessories. Their product line runs from bandanas to jackets and vests.
Founded by Louie Gong, Nooksack, Eighth Generation prides itself on being “Inspired Natives, not Native Inspired.” Eighth Generation collaborates with Indigenous artists and designers from tribes and nations across North America to take back the market for Indigenous products from large corporations dedicated to making money from fake Indigenous art. Specializing in apparel, textiles, and other products, Eighth Generation offers high quality, beautiful products.
8. Kotah Bear
Kotah Bear offers Indigenous designed blankets and jewelry. Owners Missy and Kotah (Dine/Navajo) are passionate about the beautiful products of their Native heritage, and created Kotah Bear to share that passion while supporting living Indigenous artisans and crafters.
Wild rice is a new world crop, and Red Lake Nation Foods sells wild rice and other food products from the Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. This company is owned by the Red Lake band of the Chippewa, and benefits members of that nation. Their product lines include wild rice, popcorn, and jams and jellies made from hand-harvested wild fruits.