10 Indigenous-Owned Businesses to Shop for the Holidays (And Beyond)

published Dec 3, 2020
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Credit: Lyuba Alex

One of my favorite ways to open up a conversation about Indigenous cultures and issues to friends, neighbors, and coworkers is through giving small holiday gifts from Indigenous-owned shops. I also like to buy Native-made goods for family members because I know they’ll appreciate the effort. So, I put together a list of some of my favorite Indigenous-owned businesses to shop for the holidays—many of which I’ve already bought gifts from. As a small business owner myself, I have to plan early!

An important note: From my own experiences, I’ve learned that many people are afraid to buy or wear Indigenous goods because they think it might be appropriation. But I’m here to tell you that it’s not appropriation if you are buying from Indigenous-owned businesses. It’s actually appreciation, and most Native businesses need that outside support to survive. So, let’s get to shopping.

Bison Star Naturals

We’ve all been washing our hands a lot this year. Bison Star Naturals specializes in soaps and lotions made with plants that have been wild-harvested or grown locally to their Taos, New Mexico business. Their products don’t contain animal products, dyes, or perfumes—making them great for folks with sensitive skin. I’m a big fan of their bar soaps. My favorite scent is the woodsy and clean smell of the sage pine soap.

Buy: Sage Pine Soap, $8-$10 from Bison Star Naturals

Sequoia Soaps

It may not be the most unique gift, but I love giving and receiving candles. Sequoia Soaps is a beauty and candle brand with products inspired by Native lands and containing Native ingredients. What is unique about these candles is their scents which include aromas like blackberry sage, red clover and sweetgrass.

Buy: Sweetgrass Candle, $20 from Sequoia Soaps

Bedré Fine Chocolate

If you’re looking for holiday chocolate staples like peppermint bark and caramel rounds, look no further than Bedré Fine Chocolate. Bedré is a luxury chocolate brand owned by the Chickasaw Nation. I’m most excited about stuffing their milk chocolate potato crisp bars into my loved ones’ stockings.

Buy: Milk Chocolate Potato Crisp Bar, $1.54 from Bedré Fine Chocolate

Blue Corn Custom Designs

Sometimes the holidays get hectic and I don’t have time to bake. That’s where Blue Corn Custom Designs steps in. This year all of my neighbors are receiving half a dozen blue corn cookies. The cookies are made with traditional ingredients such as Blue Bird flour and juniper ash.

Buy: Half a Dozen Organic Blue Corn Cookies, $13.50 from Blue Corn Custom Designs

Spirit Mountain Roasting Company

There’s nothing quite like your first cup of piping hot coffee on a cold day. Spirit Mountain Roasting Company is a coffee company that is “Indigenous from seed to cup.” I appreciate their ethos of sustainable, fair trade coffee and I’d be proud to serve or gift Spirit Mountain to the many coffee connoisseurs in my life.

Buy: Whole Bean Spirit Blend, $13.45 from Spirit Mountain Roasting Company

Kokum Scrunchies

The scrunchie is back in style, and my hair is thankful for it. Kokum Scrunchies is a small business founded by 9-year-old Mya Beaudry and each scrunchie is handmade with care from kokum scarves. Kokum scarves are brightly colored floral scarves traditionally worn by Indigenous women. I’ll be gifting a scrunchie to my pre-teen niece and I might sneak one into my own stocking, too. (Editor’s note: scrunchies are currently sold out, but check regularly to catch when they’re restocked.)

Buy: Kokum Scarf, $14 from Kokum Scrunchies

Eighth Generation

There comes a time in every holiday shopper’s journey where they decide that they too deserve a little treat. This year I’ll be treating myself to one of Eighth Generation’s wool blankets. Each of their heirloom-quality blankets are designed by Indigenous artists.

Buy: “Reflection” Wool Blanket, $200 from Eighth Generation

Lillie Nell Beadworks

It’s rare these days, but if I do want to get dressed up—even if it’s just to go to the grocery store—a pair of earrings always makes me feel more put-together. My current favorite pair of earrings is handmade by Holly Nolan of Lillie Nell Beadworks. These beaded earrings feature traditional designs and are so lightweight. I’m thankful for anything to help me look a bit more pulled together during any last-minute virtual meetings.

Buy: Choctaw Diamond Earrings, $68 from Lillie Nell Beadworks

Indigo Arrows

Most of us have that friend that loves to lounge. (No judgement if you’re that friend!) A perfect gift for someone that appreciates creature comforts is a pillow from Indigo Arrows. Indigo Arrows is a home design company reimagining traditional patterns in modern decor. I know my best friend would love their Ishkoday Long Lumbar pillow.

Buy: Ishkoday Long Lumbar Pillow, $109 from Indigo Arrows

Manitobah Mukluks 

Staying at home most of the year has taught me a lot of things and one of those things is the importance of quality house clothes. My favorite pair of slippers are fur-lined indoor suede moccasins from Manitobah Mukluks. These slippers would make an ideal gift for any work-from-home employee.

Buy: Tipi Suede Moccasin, $69.99 $64.99 from Manitobah Mukluks