Holiday Shopping 2019
Are you looking for a unique, one-of-a-kind, unforgettable gift this holiday season; are you looking for something that will leave your family, friends, and loved ones in awe or a socially responsible gift that supports the local Indigenous artists?
We’ve sourced the best Canadian Indigenous-owned businesses selling unique, authentic, Indigenous-themed gifts perfect for anyone on your shopping list this holiday season. Every business listed sells highly genuine, authentic Indigenous-inspired gifts sure to impress anybody on your list.
In no particular order, let’s begin…
Inspired by the creation story of the Spirit Bear – a symbolic gift of peace and harmony to all creatures – Spirit Bear Coffee was born. This coffee company competes against the big brands and has fun while doing it selling flavours such as Raven (expresso), Eagle (Medium Roast), and Frog Breakfast Blend (light roast). “Ten years ago, we were told we would never survive,” says Paul Biglin, co-president of Spirit Bear Coffee, “We fight the big guys all the time. The Tim Hortons and the Starbucks of the world. It’s tough to be an Aboriginal company in a commodity-driven market.”
With the goal of working with every Nation in North America, this organic fair-trade Arabica bean coffee, craft-roasted for optimal flavour, is the perfect gift for any coffee lover on your list.
Indigenous food is not a dish served for one, but rather a cultural feast meant to share. An Indigenous culinary gift is not an ordinary gift; it’s an experience. Talented Indigenous chefs from across the country are eager to share Canada’s diverse Indigenous culinary experiences with the world. “The talent and creativity of Indigenous chefs across the country inspire me daily,” says Chef Bill Alexander, Six Nations – Executive Chef at The Little Chief Restaurant at The Grey Eagle Resort and Casino, Chair of Indigenous Culinary of Associated Nations (ICAN), and consulting chef for WestJet Airlines.
When you give a gift card from an Indigenous-owned restaurant, you are giving an Indigenous culinary experience; you are gifting a connection to the Indigenous culture through food. Check out these links to find an amazing Indigenous-owned restaurant near you:
- The Little Chief Restaurant inside The Grey Eagle Resort and Casino in Calgary, AB
- Feast Café Bistro in Winnipeg, MB
- Mr. Bannock food truck in Vancouver, BC
- The Bear, The Fish, The Root, and The Berry in Osoyoos, BC
- Red Fox Club in Kelowna, BC
- Restaurant La Traite in Wendake, QC
- NishDish in Toronto, ON
- Salmon N Bannock in Vancouver, BC
- Sagamité Restaurant in Quebec City, QC
Displaying traditional and contemporary artwork from the Northwest Coast, I-Hos Gallery presents a stunning collection of masks and carvings, jewellery, fashion, woven cedar, prints, and more designed by world-famous Northwest Coasts First Nations artists. Located on the site of the original K’ómoks village, I-Hos gallery works directly with First Nations artists to provide the legends and biographies behind their beautiful artwork.
With a wide range of products, there is something special for anybody on your list!
Skwachàys Lodge Hotel and Gallery is unique in many ways: Canada’s first Indigenous arts hotel featuring beautiful Indigenous art installations in each room; unique and life-changing Artists in Residence Program designed to subsidize housing and help Indigenous artists develop their craft; and finally, a gallery that houses some of the most stunning Indigenous artworks in Canada. Located in the hotel lobby in Vancouver, BC, Skwachàys Lodge gallery celebrates the cultural and artistic talent of Indigenous artists.
Selling original artwork and everything from drums, cedar weavings, hand paintings, carvings, jewellery and more, there’s something for everybody at this unique Indigenous gallery!
The emergence of Canadian wine products from the Okanagan Valley in BC has undoubtedly won over many hearts for decades. Indigenous World Winery is no exception. Merging local Indigenous history with modern culture, this world-class winery sells award-winning wine on the traditional, unceded territory of the Okanagan Syilx People. Robert Louie and his wife Bernice, descendants of the Okanagan Syilx People, planted their vineyard in 2014.
Make no mistake, when you taste an Indigenous World Wine, you are tasting fruit from the land that has supported the Syilx people for over 10,000 years. If you have a wine connoisseur on your list, this would make a perfect gift!
Displaying authentic Indigenous art from the Northwest Coast, Awatin “Eagle” Aboriginal Art Gallery specializes in Indigenous jewellery crafted by local artists and also showcases a wide range of paintings, carvings, masks and more. They also have their own in-house goldsmith creating custom pieces and recycling gold.
This family-owned and operated Indigenous gallery run by Darlene Smith and Mowisaht of the Ehattesaht First Nation is a great example of how an Indigenous-owned business can work inclusively with indigenous artists and has the perfect gift for anybody on your list.
Where the majority of the items are made right in the store Moonstone Creation, opened in 2009 with just a handful of artists, has grown to represent over 50 Indigenous artists primarily from Western Canada. Moonstone Creation promotes Indigenous artwork in schools, corporations, and offers in-house workshops on everything from beading to fish-scale art. “Our passion is to inspire other artists, to teach people the value of our traditional art forms and to continue to create authentic art ourselves,” says Cree artist and co-owner Amy Willier.
This unique and one-of-a-kind Indigenous art gallery is more than a gift store; they are progressing, teaching, and inspiring Indigenous artists and others to discover or rediscover their Indigenous culture. Moonstone Creations has something special for everybody on your list!
These boots are so much more than Indigenous-designed, hand-crafted, ethically sourced footwear. With every boot made, Indigenous artisans are rediscovering their culture; with every boot made, Atikuss is promoting equitable fair trade and fair compensation for women Indigenous artisans, who rarely earn more than $4/hour in this industry. The Hopeboots Project is a social movement with a goal to promote Indigenous women’s rights and fair compensation. These boots are more than a gift; they are the symbol for hope.
Designed for comfort and warmth, while incorporating the ancient artforms of Indigenous footwear, this gift is perfect for anybody on your list.
Northern Delights herbal teas incorporate the history and culture of the Inuit drawing from the elders of Avataq Cultural Institute located in Nunavik, Quebec’s northern region. Only the finest plants are used – picked, cleaned and dried by hand, harvested in the harsh arctic climate only possible during the short summer season. These Inuit-inspired herbal teas are artfully blended to offer a truly rich and memorable taste.
This unique, traditional herbal tea is the perfect drink for snuggling up next to the fireplace during this holiday season. It’s available in 5 different flavours and sold in a store near you.
Aurora Heat, comfortably warm and snuggled in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, employs Indigenous youth and strong cultural values while creating handmade and wonderfully luxurious hand, foot and body warmers made with sheared beaver fur. Their products are naturally and sustainably sourced, reusable and incredibly soft. This Indigenous-owned company is a true steward of the land.
Offer your loved ones this unique traditional gift that will keep them comfortable and toasty warm all winter!
Winning the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s Indigenous Tourism Award, Wanuskewin Heritage Park, in Saskatoon, SK, works to advance the understanding and appreciation of the evolving cultures of the Northern Plains Indigenous people. With archaeological findings pre-dating the pyramids in Egypt, being declared a National Historic Site and being named to Canada’s Tentative List for UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it’s not surprising that Wanuskewin Heritage Park has seen so much success and Wanuskewin Gift Shop is no exception.
Offering thoughtfully curated collections from local and rural artisans, while promoting equitable and fair compensation and celebrating Indigenous culture as it lives today, this unique world-class experience is a shining example of one of the top Indigenous tourism experiences in the world. Specializing in traditional and handcrafted products from Indigenous practices and teachings, this gift shop has something special for everybody on your list!
Last but definitely not least, the Inuit throat-singing duo PIQSIQ, Tiffany Kuliktana Ayalik and Kayley Inuksuk Mackay with Inuit roots in Nunavut and growing up in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, have released their first Christmas album, Quviasugvik: In Search of Harmony – a haunting collection of carols, reimagined and sung to the beat of katajjaq, traditional Inuit throat singing. “Quviasugvik” is the Inuktitut word for “Christmas Time”, and each track is an eerie and mournful tribute to the complicated relationship many Indigenous Peoples have with the tradition of Christmas.
You may remember PIQSIQ from their astonishing and memorable performance at our International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC) in Kelowna, BC last month. Their performance left everybody in the room stunned and speechless. The entire room was silent, in awe of the incredible sound of these artists. This gift is something unique, memorable and inspiring and perfect for anybody interested in music and art.
With everything on this list made in Canada, promoting fair and equitable compensations to Indigenous artisans, and selling one-of-a-kind unforgettable and memorable gifts, you are sure to find something special for everybody through this comprehensive list of the best Indigenous-owned shopping experiences in Canada. On behalf of everybody at the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, we wish you a joyful and memorable holiday season!