Guest Column: There are many Indigenous artists, designers and more to support this season

There are so many Indigenous-owned businesses to buy from this holiday season. (Photo/Pauly Deneclaw, ICT)

There are so many Indigenous-owned businesses to buy from this holiday season. (Photo/Pauly Deneclaw, ICT)

I grew up in a border town with one of the most well-known flea markets near the Navajo Nation and I have always appreciated the artistry, brilliance and entrepreneurial spirit of my community. My parents, little brother and I would jump into our silver GMC Sierra and drive down the road to the Gallup Flea Market almost every Saturday since I could remember.

In November, the flea market opens for Black Friday and in the days leading up to Christmas, it’s open for vendors. On top of that, my community loves bazaars and the holiday markets that pop-up.

In that spirit of trying to recreate virtually the flea markets, bazaars and holiday markets I grew up loving, I have curated a list of Indigenous vendors whose work I admire.

To start us off strong is the Texas-based Mud Lowery, Lumbee, who creates some of the most unique and beautiful jewelry pieces. Lowery is a jeweler to the stars. Miranda Lambert has been spotted more than once wearing his work. He will be in Las Vegas starting Thursday at the Cinch Jeans Western Gift Show at booth number 1057. The self-taught jeweler also does weekly drops on Sunday at 8 p.m. CT. Be sure to get to his website early because his pieces go fast.

Moving from Texas to Tuba City, Arizona, Saani Up, operated by two Navajo sisters Twynoya and Shiniya Henry, has stickers and youth and adult apparel. One shirt reads “Move, I’m Indigenous.” Others feature Diné Bizaad, Navajo language. Another shirt has “Stoodis, Skoden” with an arrow in the middle. We are also in the era of stickers and Saani Up has some cute ones. All of the designs are created by the Henry sisters.

An hour’s drive down the road to Hotevilla, is where Hopi artist, AJ Nequatewa is from. She mostly works in par fleche creating earrings and necklaces that she paints by hand. But Nequatewa is a multimedia artist who also makes dentalium earrings, ribbon skirts and is skilled in silversmithing. She sells at various art markets throughout the year including Indian Market. Most interesting this holiday season, she has created Christmas mystery boxes. The boxes are between $20 and $80. Each will include one pair of earrings, two stickers, one item from another Indigenous artist and two to five Christmas related items.

If you know of any Star Wars fans, then Reclaim Designs is your go-to spot. The designs and artwork are created by brothers Enoch and Manasseh Endwarrior, who are Navajo and Oneida. The goal of the small business is to utilize pop culture references to reinforce Indigenous values and culture. Some of their designs also blend pop culture references with historical moments. An example of this is their design based on a infamous photo from the Mohawk Resistance of 1990.

Also playing with pop culture references is Moe Butterfly Art, Onödowa’ga:’, whose art features Indigenized Sailor Moon characters, queer couples, and just in general cute, every day moments of Indigenous people just being themselves. Moe Butterfly, the artist, creates characters who have names, back stories, likes and dislikes. For example, Camila, whose pronouns are she/they is from the Seneca Nation of Indians and Taino. They like beading and Kpop and dislikes velvet fabric and dancing. Butterfly’s Etsy shop features prints of their work.

If you know a coffee drinker, Star Village Coffee owned by Joel Zuniga, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, based in Nevada is the website to peruse. The website currently shows six different types of coffee and even K-Cups Pods for all the Keurig-owners you know. The Honduras and Ethiopian blends sound particularly delicious.

Peshlove Creations is all Navajo, all the time. The small business is operated by a husband and wife duo who create everything from stickers, to apparel to keychains, magnets and tote bags. The design incorporates Navajo culture and life on the rez. They are currently selling a red shirt with two sheep wearing Santa hats. They have stickers that say “Deadly Uncle” and “Deadly Auntie.”

For the bookish community, or those who like to collect them to one day read, there is the Raven Reads holiday gift box. The subscription box company was founded by Nicole McLaren, Métis Nation of Saskatchewan, to raise awareness about the history and lived experiences of Indigenous communities as well as to support Indigenous authors and entrepreneurs. The holiday gift boxes will contain four items from different small businesses in Canada and the United States. You can also give the gift of a seasonal, bi-annual or annual book boxes that include one book and two to three items from an Indigenous entrepreneur.

Visit links to more Indigenous-owned businesses to support this holiday season online at

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Pauly Denetclaw


Indian Country Today

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