Did you know that November is Native American Heritage Month? Before European settlers arrived in the 15th century, North America was home to a rich and culturally diverse population of indigenous people. Today, although Native Americans make up only 1.7% of the US population, there are over 500 federally-recognized tribes, each with its own unique culture and heritage. Although I am not of Native American ancestry, I wanted to celebrate this month by featuring some beautifully crafted items made by Native artists. While there is a lot of Native American "inspired" stuff out there, authentic work by Native American artists is much harder to find. Thankfully, Dr. Jessica R. Metcalfe, author of the blog "Beyond Buckskin" has compiled a list of resources where you can buy products that support economic development in Native American communities. I checked out some of her recommendations, and highlighted a few of my favorite items that would make a great addition to any home.
1. Awoken Loon and Moon - $132.35
I love the crisp lines and colors on this woodland style painting by artist Derek Harper, who is Oji-Cree from Keewaywin First Nation in Ontario. The loon is a really cool bird with a hauntingly beautiful call, and it's also the state bird of Minnesota, my home state. This framed painting is 8.5"W x 11"H.
2. Arctic Flower Birch Bark Drum - $85
This lovely birch bark drum was made by Dolly Metchooyeah, a Dene from Chateh, AB. The gorgeous flowers are made of moose hair tufting, an intricate decorative technique used for centuries by the Dene people.
3. Cedar Basket w/Canoe - $200
Hand-woven by Violet Riebe, of the Hoh tribe from the Pacific Northwest, this basket depicts four canoes with four birds flying above.
4. Hand Coiled Acoma Pottery - $650
The Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico is known for its distinctive, geometric-patterned pottery. This beautiful vase was made by award-winning potter, Shawna Garcia-Rustin. The black-and-white design is a great complement to any color scheme.
5. Di Dream Catcher - $130
Dreamcatchers have a sculptural beauty that adds three-dimensionality to a space, and they look great on the wall or over your bed. Plus, they filter out nightmares while you're sleeping! This caribou-hide piece was made by George Chocolate, Tlicho from Behchoko, NT.
6. Eagle and Bear Paddle - $352.12
Hand-carved paddle by Gelineau Fisher, an Ojibwe artist from the Longlac 58 First Nation. This paddle would look awesome displayed on the wall horizontally or vertically. It is decorated with a painted eagle and black bear.