Gifts with heart: 10 Indigenous-made finds from companies that give back to their communities
A roundup of beautiful and unique gifts that actually keep on giving.
What if in your search for special gifts, unique and carefully made, you could also support worthy causes close to home? This roundup features ten Indigenous businesses that are giving back to their communities and inspiring social good. Their support extends year-round, not just during the holidays. Peruse their offerings and think outside the box, each one offers an array of quality gift ideas to suit everyone's needs, personal style and taste.
10% of the profits from these high quality cosmetics are donated to their project, "Shannen's Dream." Through partnering with the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, a big part of this company's mandate is to help improve Indigenous education for First Nations children and youth and create new employment opportunities for First Nations, Metis, Inuit and Innu peoples.
There are many Indigenous reservations across Canada that go without clean drinking water, including the one Her Braids owner and founder Sunshine Quem Tenasco is from: Kitigan Zibi (Quebec). Through the purchase of the gorgeous handmade, beaded pendants, 10% of their profits go directly towards David' Suzuki's Blue Dot Movement, which aims to ensure that all Canadians live in a healthy environment with clean air and water. Her Braids also facilitates in-depth workshop series to public schools where kids learn about the need for clean drinking water and how to bead their own pendants.
Indigenous owned and operated, this apparel company makes it a mission to support, employ and empower Indigenous youth, professionals, artists and communities. Their Storyboot School is a program that runs youth and elder based moccasin and mukluk making workshops in an effort to keep traditions alive and inspire the next generation of artists. They also partner with CAHRD (whose mission is to relieve and prevent unemployment among FNMI peoples in Winnipeg), and dedicate an entire section on their website to promoting remote Indigenous artists to sell their work, wherein the artist receives 100% of the proceeds.
You may not be able to shop online from this one — but it's a very worthy mention for readers in Winnipeg! A variety of arts and cultural events, artists talks, workshops, and teaching sessions are hosted at this hub of social enterprise. The Commons also carries Indigenous, Metis, Inuit and local community based contemporary art and traditionally crafted works. This supermarket, bakery, restaurant and arts & crafts shop will be sure to have something for just about anyone on your gift list.
This lifestyle apparel company is committed to giving a portion of their proceeds to help underprivileged kids to play sports, through the gift of annual bursaries.
Canada's leading retailer of of Inuit arts and crafts, there is something remarkable for everyone to be found here with a huge selection of online shopping choices at various price points. A retail and marketing partner to Arctic Co-operatives Limited, a service organization owned and controlled by 32 community-based, multi-purpose co-operatives in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon, dedicated to providing services and business development opportunities to communities throughout Canada's north.
An incredible 100% of proceeds from the apparel shop and seasonal online artisan auctions go towards running and maintaining the year round culture, language and arts camp Nimkii Aazhibikong camp. For youth and elders alike, the camp is founded by Christi Belcourt and Isaac Murdoch.
Raven Reads Books
A seasonal subscription service that sends out beautifully curated boxes of Indigenous literature and giftware, in honour of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action. Raven Reads aims to inspire and create safe space for dialogue by expanding our understanding and perspectives of the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people around the world, through the written word, from the past and into the present. There are various payment and subscription options and you can even purchase past boxes!
Reclaim Your Power
This apparel company creates an outstanding online presence and shirts with with empowering and uplifting messages for Indigenous communities — especially youth and women. Over the past couple of years they have sparked a movement of Indigenous peoples all over their world in claiming their culture with pride and sharing their community and advocacy work through video and powerful imagery.
Leather goods designed and manufactured in alliance with and with the goal of elevating Indigenous women and girls. By providing a connection to share personal stories, and Indigenous knowledge, develop dynamic skills, and engage in meaningful work, SheNative's designs aims to accentuate hope for a positive change through employing 100% Indigenous women in the design and manufacturing of their goods.
Selena Mills creates digital content, wrangles children, and cooks delicious food whenever she can. When the chaos permits, she's an avid four-seasons gardener who makes art on the sly. You can find her on Instagram @selenamaemills, where her lens isn't always as glossy as the rest.