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Shopping indigenous this holiday season

If you like indigenous art but have hesitated to purchase it because you want to be sure what you`re buying is authentic, read about these online shops.

Authentic work from aboriginal artisans available for online shoppers

Aboriginal appropriation has been in the news for the past couple of years, and we have seen the follies from large retail chains, small boutiques and independent designers.  

If you like the "native look" but have hesitated to purchase goods because you want to be sure you are supporting authentic indigenous artists and companies, this is your answer.

Here are the top five online shops to purchase the work of authentic indigenous artists for your family, friends, or maybe even to spoil yourself this holiday season.

1. Shop Indigenous 

This e-commerce site for indigenous artisans has been dubbed the “Native Etsy.” It's a site where Indigenous sellers big and small can feature their goods from their own galleries or their galley kitchen offices. Here you'll discover beaded jewelry and unique handbags that you won’t find at your local mall.

2. Manitobah Mukluks 

Manitobah Mukluks is aboriginal owned and most of the signature products are made at their headquarters in Winnipeg. These are made by Annie McKay. (Manitobah Mukluks)
This company is aboriginal owned and most of its signature products are made at the headquarters in Winnipeg.

The firm works with local aboriginal artists, invests in aboriginal education and employment, raises aboriginal community program awareness and helps to keep traditional arts alive with its StoryBoot program.

Oh, and did I mention that they also make fashionable and fun mukluks and moccasins? These make lovely gifts for men, women and the kids on your list.

3. Northwest Coast Gifts 

Northwest Coast Gifts offers accessible artwork including this iPhone 5 cover designed by Corey Moraes (Tsimshian). (Northwest Coast Gifts)
This hip online shop is the brainchild of Vancouver-based 
Lattimer Gallery, which is dedicated to selling museum-quality Northwest Coast First Nations art to support local artists. Northwest Coast Gifts offers everyone the opportunity to acquire their own piece of the much-loved Northwest Coast style.  

From sunglasses and silver jewelry to spirit boots, this store has accessible artwork for every lifestyle.

4. Edzerza Gallery 

This online shop was created by AlanoEdzerza, a Tahltan multimedia artist, based out of Vancouver. He is a successful artist who made a lasting mark when he designed the outerwear for the Dutch Olympic team for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

But you need not be an Olympian to obtain his gear. His casual clothing emblazoned with Northwest Coast art is both contemporary and cool. There are pieces for men, women and children that will make hearts skip a beat this holiday season.  

5.  Beyond Buckskin Boutique

Candace Halcro specializes in creating sunglasses with a beaded band. Find her designs at Beyond Buckskin Boutique. (Beyond Buckskin Boutique)
This U.S.-based site is a platform where emerging and established artists can bring their work to new audiences and demonstrate that native fashion and style are more than just a trend.

One of the Canadian artists featured is Jamie Gentry (Kwakwaka’wakw), who designs unique upcycled baby booties for her line, Love is Everything. Another Canadian artist on the site is Candace Halcro (Métis/Cree), who recently collaborated with Paul Frank. She specializes in sunglasses with a beaded band. Now that’s native chic!

About the Author

Lisa Charleyboy

Lisa Charleyboy is a storyteller and a social media entrepreneur. She's been named by Huffington Post as one of three Aboriginal Millennials to watch, and has been selected as a DiverseCity Fellow for 2013-2014. She is a widely published writer, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Urban Native Magazine. @UrbanNativeGirl

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