Shop Native Gift Guide by Thread Spun featuring photography by Munoa Dyer - shown here with her Sweetgrass leather bag also featured in this Buy Native guide

Shop Native-Owned and Made: 10 American Indian Businesses We Love to Support

Each November since 1990, the United States government celebrates Native American Indian Heritage Month. It is ironic given the cultural significance in non-Native American culture of "Thanksgiving", yet it is perfectly logical in this country given our very American commitment to cognitive dissonance. Here, we fetishize freedom and paint ourselves as defenders of democracy. And yet, we reside on stolen land gained through broken agreements, murder, and forced relocation and assimilation of millions of people, resulting in inter-generational trauma that continues to be far-reaching and deadly to American Indians throughout the country. And so, we celebrate Native American Indian Heritage Month alongside "Thanksgiving".

Despite the best efforts of this nation's government, and in spite of the genocide of Native people and centuries of systemic discrimination and disenfranchisement, Native people continue their long and rich history on this land. Their accomplishments, distinct and unique cultures, and contributions persist. Native art is venerated, its contributions undeniable and profound. Native people and voices remain, as they have since time immemorial, and as they will continue to do.

Photography by Alexis Munoa Dyer: Thread Spun Shop-Native Gift Guide

Photography by Alexis Munoa Dyer

I, Heidi - owner of this shop, reside in Panáa’o, in the shared homelands of the Kumeyaay and Payómkawichum Nations. Both Nations consist of several sovereign governments and Peoples. We forever honor the all bands and homelands of the Payómkawichum and the Kumeyaay. You may know this area as Encinitas, California. The more I learn about those who have stewarded this land forever, the Payómkawichum and the Kumeyaay, all Indigenous peoples, the greater the respect I have, the greater the appreciation, and yet too, the greater the shame and sense of personal responsibility. And, this is okay. This is a part of your very human journey. Your humanity is dependent upon your ability to feel all the feelings and hold complexity in the human experience. Last year this time, in a blog, I wrote:

We are approaching the celebration of the myth of Thanksgiving. This day falls within Native American Heritage Month and is celebrated on land that was stolen from people my own ancestors brutalized, from human beings who continue to be brutalized to this day. As a white woman of European descent living in America, I am complicit with this violence, and I feel shame and embarrassment and heaviness and empathy and sadness. But just because we feel does not mean we should run away from. Because we feel we must look deeper and examine so much of what we have been taught, and of what we believe. 

While I recognize the importance of gratitude in life and of time spent with loved ones, doing so based upon a false narrative that continues to perpetuate violence and deny reality is a horribly flawed, destructive and harmful practice. Instead of giving thanks for a violent and brutal history, for willful ignorance, I choose to sit in the discomfort of our place within it. I choose gratitude for {Native voices} and the truths graciously share{d} with us...despite the complication and despite the pain. We forever honor the Pechanga band, the Luiseño people, the Payómkawichum. We honor all Native and Indigenous peoples beyond all man-made and arbitrary borders around the world. We vow to be humble, to be open to change, to be willing to learn and grow from mistakes and to commit to what needs to be done in honor of our shared humanity with all of earth's peoples.

When considering your own (re)education about the myth of Thanksgiving, when learning about American Indian Heritage, when considering federal and state policies, please research, and read and *listen* to Native voices. There are countless resources available that come directly from the hearts, minds and mouths of Native people. Prioritize these. Here is one (an interview with our friend and muse, Alexis Munoa Dyer) that will connect you with many others. Give to mutual aid funds and charities led by Native people working on issues identified by Native people. Use your voice to speak to your representatives. Speak to your family and friends. Acknowledge harm and pain, hold it tight, and know that it will hurt - but that pain can also be transformative. For you and for the people around you. And lastly, a beautiful and timely way to support Native Americans: shop Native-owned and made this holiday season and every season.

A note on the term, "Native-inspired": you might have come across art pieces or products labeled as "Native-inspired", but these *are not* made by Native artists. “Native-inspired” means traditional Native designs have been appropriated by a non-Native person or business. This is exploitative, harmful, and morally reprehensible. Instead, seek out Native-owned businesses, and Native-made products. Many design and create products that are designed for everyone, including non-Native people, to purchase and use. Some Indigenous-made art and products are designed *only* for Native people, please refrain from buying these items.

Without further ado, and in no particular order, ten of our favorite Native-Owned and Made Brands to source beautiful and unique goods and gifts made by Indigenous peoples year-round.

Wild Lobo

Wild Lobo Native-Made Turquoise Jewelry | Thread Spun Gift Guide

Wild Lobo is owned by Elise Lopez, a self-taught Yaqui and Raramurí metal artist living in Colorado. Inspired by her grandfather's handmade silver creations, Elise finds that silversmithing comes to her naturally, and is guided by her ancestors. The beauty of this story aligns with the beauty of Wild Lobo jewelry, which features turquoise and other stones set by hand in silver. Elise carefully selects each stone and her Native-made rings, bracelets, necklaces and more are all unique. They're so beloved that her site is typically "Sold Out", and you'll have to follow along with her on Instagram and Patreon to be notified of the next drop. Trust us, it's more than worth your while to gift yourself or someone you love with Wild Lobo jewelry.

Urban Native Era

You Are On Native Land Beanie by Urban Native Era | Thread Spun Gift Guide

Urban Native Era was created by founder Joey Montoya (Lipan Apache) - who wanted to increase the visibility of Indigenous Peoples through social media. He began taking photos and videos of the ‘Idle No More’ movement and posted them online. By May 2013, Urban Native Era released its first set of shirts intended to draw in a broader audience. Today, UNE crafts minimal yet powerful designs to create timeless garments with the mission of bringing Indigenous visibility through fashion and design. We personally love the "You Are On Native Land" caps and beanies (pictured above).


Osamuskwasis Indigenous-made fashion | Thread Spun Gift Guide

Osamuskwasis Roan grew up surrounded by beautiful handmade things in her home on the Pigeon Lake reservation in Alberta, Canada. Roan—who is Cree and Dene, and an enrolled member of Ermineskin Cree Nation—comes from a long lineage of beadwork artists in her family. She learned design and beadwork from her mother and great grandmother, and has been designing dresses and beading since she was seven years-old. Roan's fashion line, Osamuskwasis, launched in 2020. The collection is built around the idea of producing joyful, colorful clothes—all of which are heavy on exuberant prints and floral motifs. “I love to use a lot of color because it makes me happy,” says Roan. “Color is a form of expression, and I have never felt sad when I’ve seen a rainbow.” You can shop her colorful Indigenous-designed fashion on her website and pass these heirloom pieces down for generations to come.


Mobilize Indigenous Streetwear Clothing | Thread Spun Shop Native Gift Guide

Mobilize was founded by Dusty LeGrand (Nehiyaw [Cree]), and is a streetwear apparel brand based in Edmonton, Canada. Think statement-forward tees, hoodies inspired by Canadian hip hop culture and upcycled jean jackets. LeGrand states, "As Nehiyaw people we have always represented ourselves uniquely in our dress; if you study the archives you can see how stunning indigenous fashion truly is. Clothing is always an extension of who you are, and the story you are telling." Mobilize has the perfect gift for anyone who loves streetwear.

Atuambe Metals

Ataumbi Metals | Shop Native Gift Guide Thread Spun

Jeweler Keri Ataumbe was raised on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming (Shoshone + Arapaho) where her mother had a trading post and her father was a bronze sculptor; her childhood was steeped in amazing handmade Native artwork. Her jewelry is an expression of her creativity that is influenced by the aesthetic of her Native identity and the world around her. She is interested in making work that combines elements Indigenous people hold valuable (elk teeth, buffalo, feathers, etc.) with elements considered valuable in the popular culture (diamonds, high-carat gold, precious stones, etc.). Ataumbe releases her work in drops and is currently sold out - visit her website and sign up for her newsletter to learn how to shop these gorgeous Native-made jewelry pieces.

Lauren Goodday

Lauren Goodday Native-Owned Fashion | Shop Native Thread Spun Gift Guide

Sweetgrass Leather

Sweetgrass Leather is a Native-owned leather purse company | Thread Spun Gift Guide

Look no further if you've been wanting a new unique leather bag, Sweetgrass Leather has you covered. These handcrafted bags and purses made from American Deer hide are created from free handed designs and can even be made without any thread or sewing at all using lacing. Sweetgrass Leather bags feature gorgeous fringes and some utilize traditional Indigenous materials like chunky antler beads and raw shells. Many of her bags are made to order only, so place yours now to support this Native-owned brand.

Shy Natives

Shy Natives is a Native-owned intimates company | Thread Spun Gift Guide

Shy Natives was founded by Northern Cheyenne sisters Madison and Jordan Craig. Shy Natives aims to empower individuals with their handmade lingerie, apparel, and inspiring imagery. Each piece is designed by Madison and ethically sewn (our favorite!) in Los Angeles. The Craig sisters collaborate with Indigenous photographers, filmmakers, poets, models, artists and musicians to create beautiful, meaningful content. "Shy Natives aims to fight the over sexualization and stereotyping of Indigenous peoples. They are reclaiming their bodies and sensuality, and providing a safe and supportive platform for humans to express themselves however they like." Well, isn't that the most beautiful thing we've ever heard?

Alexis Munoa Dyer

Alexis Munoa Dyer Photography | Thread Spun Gift Guide

Alexis Munoa Dyer (Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians of the greater Atáaxum Payómkawichum) is a photographer, musician and mother. She was raised in Southern California and received a Bachelor’s degree in Music. She fell in love with film in 2009 and Alexis’ work has been featured in gallery shows, social justice, print, and interior design. Her gorgeous photography prints reveal an unending connection to the land she stewards, a reverence for nature, and a creative eye that is sure to impress. Alexis is a close friend and advisor for us here, always generous enough to share her knowledge and understanding (she helped with this blog!). She is also a contributor on Yáamay: An Anthology of Feminine Perspectives Across Indigenous California - a beautiful book available in our sustainable shop with all proceeds to StrongHearts Native Helpline. Alexis' writing and/or photography would make the perfect gift for the Native arts appreciator or anyone with deep ties to the region we call Southern California.

TP Mocs

TP Mocs are Native-made | Thread Spun Gift Guide

TP Mocs was founded by Maria Running Fisher Jones, who was raised on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Northwestern Montana. Maria began the children's moccasin company to help address the 69% unemployment rate and related high poverty levels on the Blackfeet Reservation. All TP Mocs are hand-sewn by Native people, and a portion of sales go to supporting Native children living on reservations. These are the perfect shoes for small and growing kids feet, comfy and easy to (learn to) walk in. I bought a pair for my eldest child that has since been worn by both of his little sisters. The quality and craftsmanship of these moccasins is amazing and they are truly heirloom pieces.

Alexis Munoa Dyer Shop Native Photography Prints | Thread Spun Gift Guide

Want to support more amazing Native-owned brands? Just click the link below for a searchable guide to Shop Native.

Buy Native Gift Directory | Thread Spun Gift Guide


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