Holiday gift giving ideas from some of Canada’s best Indigenous artisans | Holiday Gift Guide

by W. Andrew Powell
Indigenous gift guide

This holiday season, if you’re looking for gift ideas, there are some incredible Indigenous artisans and businesses in Canada that have the perfect presents for the special people on your shopping list.

From coast to coast to coast, Indigenous businesses are crafting traditional and modern products alike that combine their heritage with their passions, creating everything from traditional art and clothing, to coffee, and maple syrup.

Supporting Indigenous businesses means keeping traditions, art, and storytelling alive and thriving across the country, and that’s a vital reason to support them.

Below are a few suggestions for Indigenous gifts you can buy for the holidays, and throughout the year.

Spirit Bear coffee

Spirit Bear Coffee Company is based out of Port Coquitlam, BC, and offers fair trade and organic coffee, coffee pods, merchandise, gift cards, and bundles for your office or home office.

The coffee is 100% fair trade and it’s organic too. I’m planning to try out there Raven espresso roast this holiday season, since I love a good espresso in the morning, and you can find recipes on their site, including for Vietnamese Coffee, or an Affogato Martini. Coffee beans are priced at $15.98.

Atikuss Hopeboots

Atikuss is based out of Uashat, Quebec, and they make Hopeboots, Mukluks, and Moccassins with a goal of equitable wages for Aboriginal footwear.

“Every time the Aboriginal artisans from Atikuss sew or bead a boot, their ancestral culture is reborn,” the company says, and their products are stunning.

Moccassins are priced between $110 and $270, and you can build your Hopeboots on their website, which are priced around $1195, depending on the style and design you choose.

Wabanaki Maple in Tobique First Nation, NB, make traditional maple syrup that is inspired by their roots and traditions. Some of the flavours include Barrel Aged Bourbon Maple Syrup, Barrel Aged Toasted Oak, as well as traditional maple syrup.

Wabanaki Maple also sell gift sets, coffee mugs, and they offer some amazing recipes on their website, including maple bourbon seafood glaze.

The company is 100% Indigenous female-owned, and you can find it in select stores across Canada. Bottles are priced at $19 for 200ml.

Manitobah Mukluks from Winnipeg, MB offer a wide range of winter wear, including boots, moccasins, slippers and accessories for your entire family.

The Indigenous-owned company has some beautiful boots and slippers, as well as an initiative they call the Storyboot Project that includes a variety of crafts, boots, shoes, and jewellery.

The Storyboot School is a teaching initiative that provides Indigenous youth with the opportunity to learn how to make mukluks, a traditional art form, from elders and artisans thanks to support from the TreadRight Foundation. All of the proceeds of every Storyboot sale goes back to the Indigenous artist who created it.

Mitts and gloves start at $49.99 for Heritage Mitts, and they also make kid’s boots, and women’s waterproof boots.

Onquata, based in Wendake, QC, is operated by a mother-daughter duo who make custom, hand-painted, decorative paddles that are inspired by First Nations culture. The paddles come in two sizes, and can be hung on the wall.

The paddles start at $70 and can be shipped across Canada, and they’re available in select stores in Quebec and Ontario.

Mr. Bannock is based in North Vancouver, BC, and make bannock mixes, a type of fried or baked traditional flatbread, as well as jerky.

The award-winning bannock mixes, in particular, are made by chef Paul Natrall from Squamish Nation, and they’re an Indigenous street food that fuses ancient cooking methods and traditional ingredients with a modern context.

You can also buy face masks and hats, and if you’re in North Vancouver they have a food truck and offer catering. Bannock mixes are $8 and jerky is $5.99.

Aurora Heat phone warmer

Aurora Heat, from Fort Smith, NT, make cozy hand, foot, and head warmers made in the traditional Dené ways. The fur warmers are made from sustainable, ethically-sourced northern fur. They’re also all natural and environmentally friendly, unlike electric or chemical hand warmers.

As the family behind Aurora Heat say on their site, the furs are the reason they have always been warm in the winter, even when temperatures were 40 below.

Hand warmers start at $49.99, and they also sell a traditional bundle that includes four warmers. They also make cell phone cases, and holiday keepsake ornaments.

For more gift ideas–including art, jewellery, carvings, and more–

Visit The GATE’s 2020 Holiday Gift Guides for more giveaways & holiday features.

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Kateryna Topol November 24, 2020 - 9:42 am

Such a great list! I can see a few things that will work well for my holiday shopping :)

Paula Schuck November 24, 2020 - 12:28 pm

Brilliant idea for a gift guide this year. I wish I had thought of it. I love those paddles. Eyeing up my space to see where I can place one.

brittshedhappens November 26, 2020 - 7:47 am

This is a great guide with some incredible gift options. We’ve been looking for the perfect finishing touch for our office and one of those paddles would fit our décor perfectly. I’ll have to show this to my husband!

Andrew Powell November 26, 2020 - 9:19 am

That’s fantastic! Great to hear!

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