10 gifts by Canada’s Indigenous Peoples
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If you’re looking to go the extra mile to help the Canadian economy, supporting online shops and boutiques founded by Canada’s Indigenous communities is a great place to start. Doing so helps Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis to continue to thrive financially while celebrating their unique and vibrant culture. Here, 10 stunning gifts by Indigenous communities of Canada you can buy to treat yourself or a loved one.
1. This bright scarf
This bright and beautiful scarf is an homage to Indigenous domestic life.
Based out of Arviat, Nunavut, Hinaani is an Inuit-owned business that offers a comprehensive selection of sustainable apparel and accessories, inspired by northern Canada’s arctic landscape.
This scarf features vibrant hues, a floral pattern and a smattering of uliut (knives used for everything from cooking to building in Indigenous culture) for an authentic Indigenous look, printed on a buttery-soft lightweight poly chiffon fabric.
Get the Yellow Piruqhiat Scarf at Hinaani
2. This nostalgic soap
Credit: Uasau Soap
A child-like scent made of sophisticated ingredients.
When using Uasau Soap, you can feel good about what you slather over your body. Using traditional Inuit sustainable harvesting techniques, the company wastes nothing in the production of their products. The brand hopes that “by feeling whale blubber, seal oil or arctic seaweed on your skin […] you will let yourself be transported to the Nuna [the name Indigenous Peoples give their own land].”
Their Bowhead Bubble Gum Hand and Body Soap’s gentle aroma will additionally transport you back to your childhood and will leave your skin baby-soft, thanks to natural ingredients like Bowhead Whale oil, carrot, cucumber, and aloe vera.
Get the Bowhead Bubble Gum Hand and Body Soap at Uasau Soap
3. This facial hair kit
Credit: Yukon Soaps
Put your best face forward.
The Yukon Soaps Company is a community-minded endeavour, based in the small town of Mayo, Yukon. Offering soaps, salves and so much more, their online store is a one-stop-shop for all things self-care, featuring products that pay homage to the Yukon’s rich landscape.
Ingredients such as rose petals and juniper berries are harvested locally and infused into each of their products, allowing your natural beauty to shine through. Their Yukon Man Toolkit contains beard oil, shave soap, moustache wax, a wooden soap dish “made by a fine fella in Mayo,” a shave brush, and four one-ounce soaps, helping you get a barber-quality shave in the comfort of your own home.
Get the Yukon Man Toolkit at The Yukon Soaps Company
4. This statement necklace
Credit: Tania Larsson
It's a conversation piece for the ages.
Rooted in Gwich’in culture and designed using materials sourced straight from the earth, jeweller and artist Tania Larsson’s goal is to showcase Arctic Canada’s most celebrated resources.
This unique pendant is hand-cut and sanded, creating an original piece of jewelry with each order. The necklace features an adjustable 63.5-centimetre matte sterling silver chain and a 0.12 carat full-cut round diamond set in 18 karat gold. The muskox horn at the base of the necklace’s design is sourced from remote northern Canadian communities: either harvested from found skeletal remains or claimed after a hunt where the muskox provides enough meat to feed multiple families.
Get the Muskox Horn Diamond Necklace at Tania Larsson
5. These authentic Canadian fur warmers
Credit: Aurora Heat
Survive any type of tundra with this trick up your sleeve.
When Brenda Dragon’s son came home from a day of snowboarding with frostbitten hands, the Dënesųłiné-French-Métis heritage entrepreneur instantly knew that she wanted to help her family as well as other Canadians to protect themselves from the harsh Canadian cold. Remembering the warmth that came with wearing furs while her parents tended to their trapline, Dragon tailored multi-use, sustainable beaver furs into her son’s gloves, and Aurora Heat was born.
In this handy bundle, you’ll get a head and body warmer, thumb warmers, and foot warmers in your choice of thickness and color (black or brown). They make the perfect gift for that friend who enjoys winter sports or gets cold easily.
Get the Traditional Deluxe Bundle at Aurora Heat
6. These cozy mukluks
Credit: Tribal Trade
They're a practical way to celebrate Indigenous culture.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a Canadian who hasn’t relied solely on mukluks to help them survive a particularly gruelling winter. Lined with sheepskin shearling and a cowhide suede outer, these mukluks, an Aboriginal term for winter boots, combine traditional Métis artistry with modern manufacturing techniques to provide a 15.5-centimetre high ankle boot that’s both stylish enough to show off with your favorite pair of jeans and durable enough to help you brave the elements thanks to long-lasting and high-performance Vibram soles. They aren’t waterproof, however, so you’ll want to consider coating them with a protective agent such as this pray from Tana.
Get the Keewatin Trim Mukluk in Oak at Tribal Trade
7. This multi-use wrap
Turn heads in this symbolic, lively pattern.
Wearable as a scarf, shawl, poncho, or cardigan, the Chloë Angus wrap is designed to keep you feeling warm and looking cool. A wearable piece of art, its salmon egg pattern is said to serve as a symbol of life, renewal, abundance, and opportunity. As part of the company’s Spirit Collection, this unique garment is a collaboration between Chloë Angus, the Vancouver-based designer, her husband Gabe who is Métis, and First Nations artists. Having grown up in a predominantly First Nations community, Chloe shares on her website, “The Spirit Collection is my way of honouring the Indigenous People of Canada. Collaborating with Indigenous artists to create a modern representation of Canadian style for women, men, and home.”
Get The Spirit Wrap—Salmon Roe in Cream/Multicolor at Chloë Angus
8. This energizing espresso
Credit: Spirit Bear Coffee Company
It'll perk you right up.
Spirit Bear Coffee Company, the first Indigenous-owned and -operated coffee brand in Canada, isn’t only a purveyor of popular coffee, but are active in partnering with local organizations committed to rescuing and healing injured wildlife native to their territories.
And that’s where their coffee—all named after mystic animals in Indigenous folklore—comes in. Coffee is a great call when it comes to gifting—but even better? A rich and balanced espresso. With notes of dark chocolate and nuts and sourced from South America, Asia and Africa, their Raven Espresso beans promise to deliver “ravenous flavour and a long finish.” The best part is that you have nine different grinds to choose from, like coarse, fine and Turkish.
Get Raven Espresso at Spirit Bear Coffee Company for $34.98 per kilogram
9. These summer scents
Credit: Angela Demontigny
Set the mood while saving on your hydro bil.
Candles can transform the look and feel of any space on a sensory level. These ones, from Angela Demontigny, are made with essential oils from Indigenous plants that are said to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. With names like Sweetgrass & Sage, Woodland Forest, and Indian Summer, the candles offer gentle mood-setting aromas and lighting for your home and make a great gift. What’s more, once your candles have run out, you may reuse their tins.
Get the Summer Scient Trio at Angela Demontigny
10. This soothing tea
Credit: Sḵwálwen Botanicals
Nothing compares to a soothing cup of tea at the end of the day.
Sḵwálwen Botanicals, a Squamish Nation boutique, is the ultimate destination for small-batch botanicals harvested using traditional Indigenous techniques, be it in the form of body butter or fragrant teas.
Whether you’re cooped up sick at home or looking to stay warm from the inside out, the Nékwentsut Rose+Nettle+Mint Tea’s potent blend of wild rosehip, nettle and mint is a teatime must-have. In addition to the tea’s scent and taste perking you up, Sḵwálwen Botanicals claims that the tea is high in immunity-boosting vitamin C and aids in digestion.
Get the Nékwentsut Rose+Nettle+Mint Tea at Sḵwálwen Botanicals
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.