This Thanksgiving, Spoonflower is grateful to celebrate the history and culture of Indigenous peoples. We believe it is important to acknowledge every day that Spoonflower’s factory in Durham, NC stands on the unceded land of the Lumbee, Shakori and Tuscarora people and ships custom orders to lands of many that came before (find out which tribe(s) are Indigenous to your area and learn their history here).
We are proud to highlight the artistry and contributions of Indigenous artists and makers. We asked Destiny Seymour, designer and owner of the home decor line, Indigo Arrows, to share Indigenous creatives you should be following and a bit more about how to best support small Indigenous-owned businesses.
My family history includes unconditional love, beauty, generosity, and so much humor. It also includes intergenerational trauma, colonial violence, and the loss of family connections. My parents survived the Canadian residential school system that tried to erase our culture, language, and history. My goal as an Indigenous designer is to celebrate my culture in honor of those that could not. If you are not aware of the history of the residential schools (in Canada and the U.S.), I highly encourage you to take the time to learn about them.
My parents always showed me so much love and support for my design goals. My father helps me with naming all my patterns and translating the English names into Anishinaabemowin. My designs are reviving Indigenous patterns from the land where my ancestors lived for thousands of years. My textiles have become a teaching tool for many of my customers, sharing history and a language that only previously lived in our museums. As a mother, I want my children to experience the beauty of their ancestor’s designs. Our home is filled with Indigenous textiles and art. For my daughters, this is now their ‘normal’.
When shopping for jewelry, textiles, or home goods this holiday season, please do some research and make sure you are buying from an Indigenous maker. With each purchase you make you are creating space for an Indigenous-owned small business. It supports the revival of traditional Indigenous crafts. It supports Indigenous families and communities. Indigenous made products have stories behind them. Each Nation and Tribe has their own cultural designs, traditional crafts, and languages. It’s important to understand how diverse Indigenous peoples are. For example, in the United States there are over 570 tribes and in Canada there are over 630 First Nation communities. Cultural appropriation is adopting (stealing) elements of these designs and claiming them as your own, particularly when non-Indigenous makers profit from the sale of Native-inspired crafts. Research the maker(s) behind the designs before buying. Thank you for supporting these small Indigenous-owned businesses. Miigwetch!
Danielle H. Morrison is the owner and Anishinaabekwe designer from the Treaty 3 Territory behind this Indigenous brand. She brings to life her vision of fashion and home goods that is based on her culture, identity and ancestors that survived generations of colonial violence.
Jamie Gentry is an amazing artist from Kwakwaka’wakw Nation in British Columbia, Canada. She makes traditional, custom made moccasins for modern day living. Jamie customizes each pair of moccasins in order to create meaningful connections through moccasin making.
Cassandra Cochrane is the creator and owner behind this Indigenous fashion and accessories brand. She is a mixed media artist of Anishinaabe and Ukranian descent, living on Rainy River First Nations in Treaty 3 territory. I love the way she mixes traditional motifs with contemporary styles.
Patrick Hunter is a 2 spirit Ojibway artist, graphic designer, and entrepreneur from Red Lake, Ontario. He specializes in fine & digital artwork and designs from his Ojibway roots with the intent to create a broader awareness of Indigenous culture and iconography.
Mad Aunty is the creative project of artist Joi. T Arcand. Arcand is an artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan, Treaty 6 Territory, currently residing in Ottawa, Ontario. Her practice includes photography, digital collage, and graphic design and is characterized by a visionary and subversive reclamation of indigenization of public spaces through the use of Cree language and syllabics.