With the holiday season in full swing, Indigenous Tourism BC is encouraging people to think outside the box when it comes to buying gifts this year.
The organization has created an online list of gift-giving ideas featuring unique Indigenous arts and crafts across B.C. that people might not know about, with the hope more shoppers will add an item to their cart to help support Indigenous businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the current travel restrictions in place, Indigenous Tourism BC wanted to support businesses and encourage shoppers to support the Indigenous tourism economy in a safe, healthy way,” Samantha Rullin, ITBC stakeholder and marketing co-ordinator, said.
“The Indigenous economies that support culture within their community, local employment and so much more.”
Shoppers can find an assortment of gift ideas from eco-friendly clothing to hand carved masks, jewelry, pottery and art prints from Indigenous artists all over B.C., including Tofino, Whistler, Chilliwack, Ucluelet, Osoyoos, Alert Bay, Comox and Vancouver all in one place.
There’s one-of-a-kind hand-carved masks from U’ mista Cultural Centre, in Alert Bay, Indigenous art from the Northwest Coast, including prints, gold and silver jewelry, and wood carvings at I-Hos Gallery, between Courtenay and Comox on Vancouver Island, or moccasins, housewares, blankets, clothing, and toys at Coyote’s Gifts, in Osoyoos, just to name a few of the businesses mentioned.
Rullin said ITBC had been inspired by the resiliency of the Indigenous businesses throughout the pandemic.
“They are excited about the holiday season with some celebrating monumental milestones like the 25th anniversary at the I-Hos Gallery and the 40th anniversary of the U’mista Cultural Centre,” she said.
The list will be available and continuously updated throughout the holiday season and beyond.
If you want to add Indigenous art to your cart and strengthen a digital economy rooted in care for the land and each other, go to the gift ideas list.
Elisia Seeber is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.