Support Okanagan Indigenous artists
Cedar work done by Wednesday (Florence) Fred from the Okanagan Indian Band. Photo by Kelsie Kilawna.

Support local Indigenous creators this holiday season

From cannabis to salmon, books and beading, check out this curated list of local Okanagan creators to support this holiday season.

As the season of family, giving, and storytelling draws near, we created a list of Indigenous artists and creators in the Okanagan to consider supporting during this unprecedented time.

These unique items come from folks who create with love, thoughtfulness, and intention —some breathing life into old items and upcycling, others who invoke family practices passed down through generations. 

With COVID-19 (still) upon us, calls for supporting local small businesses and creators are growing. So, I put out a community call out to ask for local artists who should be supported this holiday season. Here’s what I heard: 

Jewelry, Crafts, Art and Woodwork

  1. Wednesday (Florence) Fred, is a crafter, and artist who harvests from the land throughout the year. Some of her collections include her cedar work, where she cuts, scrapes, ties and tenders cedar bark into custom cedar basket necklaces, unique earrings, and cedar roses. She doesn’t currently have an online shop but some of her work can be seen here, and she can be contacted here
  1. Samantha Lewis creates a variety of woodwork projects from growth charts to furniture, or anything you can imagine for your home. She often uses recycled wood products to build her orders. You can check out her work here, and contact her here
  1. Greg Gottfriedson is a one-stop shop for everything from beading, custom clothing, baby boards, to personalized signs and much more. Check out her Facebook page and contact information here
  1. Francheska Bell is a local jewelry designer and beader who paints and beads.  This winter, she’s focused more on beading, which you can find here, and purchase here
  1. Robin George designs and creates beaded earrings, hair pieces, baby moccasins, and wall art. She sells from her Etsy shop, and is working on opening her own storefront shop in Penticton B.C. 
  1. Tara Stanley creates beaded lanyards, and says she has plenty available! She’s looking to start a Facebook page soon, but for now you can order directly from her here.
  1. Meagan Louis, also a local beader, specializes in making earrings . She creates all types — from hanging earrings, studs, MMIWG earrings, and much more. Check out her work here and visit her Facebook business page to place an order. 
  1. Angie La Londe is a stay at home mom who is often busy taking orders for her unique style of bead work. La Londe does lighter cases, earring and necklace sets, and custom orders. Check out her work here, and connect with her on her business Facebook page to make your order.
  1. David Wilson Sookinakin is a well-known and highly skilled Syilx artist whose paintings are hanging throughout the Okanagan and beyond. Check out his Facebook business page to see his latest offerings.
  1. Kimberley Miller makes customized vinyl creations and has a large inventory, creating anything from funny sayings, traditional names, or whatever you can think up. Miller can do it for you. She can add her creations to items like water bottles, signs and more! See some of her work and her contact information here. 

Books

  1. Okanagan Nation Alliance has several books written by local Syilx authors, great gift ideas for all folks of all ages. Check out the ONA’s online bookstore to order. The ONA also has salmon Christmas gift baskets available at the Okanagan Selects storefront. You can lace orders here
  1. Another worthy read this season is Elaine Alec’s, ‘Calling My Spirit Back.’ Alecs’ book, which was released in July, shares her personal journey of trauma and abuse, but also shares her traditional knowledge for healing, and provides tools for others to do the same. Order your copy and a copy for your loved ones here

Unique Gifts

  1. Seraphine Robins creates holiday centerpieces from her home and is open to orders for the winter holidays. Robins has a unique flare and hand makes her centerpieces with great detail and attention. You can see some of her work here, and connect with her here.
  1. Billie Jean Gabriel is a talented photographer and she’s offering gift certificates for this holiday season. She does everything from headshots to family portraits, and covers events as well. You can check out her advertisement here, or connect with her through her website
  1. Red Nation Designs is an online shop where you can buy Indigenous design home decor and apparel. There are gift ideas for all ages, including masks, teddy bears, and blanket sets. Check out their website and place your order here.
  1. “Merry Chrislit” reads one of the many cannabis advent calendars available at High Status on Splatsin First Nations, in Enderby B.C. They have several different types of advent calendars and other gift items created by the High Status family. Check out some of the advent calendars here, and take a look at their Facebook page to see everything they have to offer. 
  1. Anna Tronson sells Christmas baking. Her recipes have gained popularity in the community, her Christmas cake is her specialty and can make it with or without nuts. She takes special orders through her Facebook page here. Check out her delicious treats!