Consider Supporting These Indigenous-Owned Businesses During Small Business Saturday and Beyond
November 23, 2021 | By Kelly Curtis
Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and was created in 2010 as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which frequently feature large retailers and e-commerce stores. Small Business Saturday encourages people to support small and local businesses when shopping in-person or online. The first Small Business Saturday was created by American Express with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
As November is Native American Heritage Month and Small Business Saturday falls the day after Native American Heritage Day in the United States, we specifically want to promote some Montana Native owned businesses to support on Saturday and beyond.
Many of the businesses listed were found on the State of Montana’s Made in Montana section of its website. All other companies were found through outside research.
Have one to add to the list? Send us an email!
Businesses Located in Montana
Sage and Oats Trading Post is located in downtown Helena and owned by Major Robinson (Northern Cheyenne) and his wife, Michelle. Selected as 2019 Made in Montana Retailer of the Year, Sage and Oats specializes in providing an “intercultural shopping experience” and sells handmade products representing a variety of cultures from all around that have a presence in Montana- from Scottish tea to Turkish ceramics, Japanese Silk table runners, and many Indigenous made products (candles, clothing, books, and beaded jewelry). Visit their store on North Last Chance Gulch in Helena or shop online.
Kaylene Big Knife (Chippewa Cree) is a graphic designer and digital illustrator who mixes “the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation landscape, the Cree language, tribal stories, and Chippewa (Ojibwe) blossoms. I create pieces using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop where I can exact my signature bold, precise linework, and vibrant palettes. My other style of art involves a fusion of Japanese anime, manga, and American comic art. I bring Indigenous characters to life with this art style in fictional settings like superheroes, fantasy, and horror. As such, I often challenge the misrepresentations of Indigenous characters found in national and international pop culture.”
Kaylene has original art for sale, has done commissioned pieces, and has featured designs on bags, mugs, apparel, jewelry, iron-on transfers, and much more. Shop now.
Iniskimauki, or "Buffalo Stone Woman” in Blackfeet, is owned by Lola Wippert out of Browning, Montana. Lola makes handmade regalia, specifically ribbon skirts, tops, and jingle dresses in a wide range of sizes for children 3 months to adult (small through plus sizes) and she takes custom orders. Orders can be made by messaging her business Facebook or through her email: email@example.com.
Hardy 406 is run by husband and wife duo, Harlan and Judith Schwan, located in Rudyard, Montana. Established in 2020, they paint skateboards, cornhole boards, and jewelry boxes using the pour paint method. If you or someone you know needs a new skateboard or loves to play cornhole, this would be a wonderful gift for the holiday season. Reach out to them via Facebook or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Della Stump is an enrolled member of the Crow Tribe in Crow Agency and her brand is based specifically out of Hardin. Della has been sewing since 2016 and has had her designs featured in Teen Vogue, INSIDER, USA New News, Vocally, INDEPENDENT from the UK, Xposer Magazine & Powwows.com. Her products are available online or you can contact her for custom-made items.
Debbie Desjarlais is an enrolled Turtle Mountain Chippewa and a Fort Peck Assiniboine descendant who lives in Billings and owns Debbie Desjarlais Design, a local graphic design business. While you can contact Debbie to work with her and her designs, she also has recently created a stationery collection called the Star Quilt Collection inspired by Fort Peck Assiniboine traditions. Each card has the cultural story on the back and can be purchased on her website or in select stores.
Lissie’s Luv Yums is a company run by Melissa Clark, Gros Ventre Assiniboine from the Fort Belknap Reservation who now lives in Great Falls. Melissa, or “Lissie” for short, bakes and creates all-natural gourmet dog treats with proceeds going to fight Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), a condition Lissie herself has. The company also employs adults with developmental disabilities to provide a safe and comfortable working environment while raising money for FAS. You can order here.
Native Fish Keepers Inc. is located in Polson, owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes, and helps manage and regulate the fish populations in Flathead Lake through fisheries management tools to “reduce lake trout abundance, including incentivized harvest by recreational anglers and netting.” The fish are vacuum packed and flash frozen the day they are caught and range from 5-20 oz. See which local stores stock their fish by visiting the Where to Buy? section of their website.
Plains Soul is a shop owned by Carrie Moran McCleary, a Little Shell Chippewa member who lives on the Crow Reservation in southeast Montana and owns a store called Plains Soul. She makes accessories, jewelry, apparel, and home décor. Carrie’s designs are inspired both by the Apaalooke community as well as her own Ojibwe heritage. Her shop includes a Fierce One Doll Collection, Plains Soul merch, and gorgeous beadwork. Her products can be found online here or on b.Yellowtail.
Currently operating out of Los Angeles, co-founder and owner Bethany Yellowtail, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Nation and raised in the Mighty Few District of the Crow Nation in Montana, started B. Yellowtail in 2016 “out of the desire to create economic opportunities for the communities we come from, and other Native peoples we love.” b.Yellowtail offers original fashion designs as well as beauty items, swimsuits, home décor, and jewelry produced by Indigenous creators. Shop now.
Owned by Nolan and Lisa Michel, Sunshine Can-dles transforms glass and aluminum cans into 100% soy wax candles with popular scents like Huckleberry. You can follow them on Facebook & Instagram and purchase their products at these select retailers:
- At Big Sky Brewery in Missoula
- At Ten Spoon Vineyard in Missoula
- At Mission Mountain Winery in Missoula
- At Fernie Brewing Co in Fernie, BC
- At MADE Fair in Missoula
- At Draught Works in Missoula
- At Lewis & Clark Brewing Co in Helena
- At Flathead Lake Brewing Co in Bigfork
- At Total Screen Design in Polson
- At The Wagon Wheel in Bison Range
- At Rockin' Rudy's in Missoula
- At Missoula Brewing Co. in Missoula
- At handMADE Montana in Polson
- At Gardiner Gifts in Gardiner
- At Rocky Mountain Supply in Dillon
Rebekah “Carries Sweet Grass Women” Jarvey is from Rocky Boy Montana and is a Chippewa, Cree, and Blackfeet woman. She is well-known for combining Indigenous fashion with modern urban style. She is a fourth-generation beader and sells traditional and modern fashion, masks, and bags on her website.
Other Native Owned Brands to check out
Trickster Company-Athabascan Tlingit, Juneau, AK
She Native-Cree, Saskatoon, Canada
Ginew- Ojibwe and Oneida/Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican, Portland, OR
BirchBark Coffee Company-Ojibwe &Anishinabek, Birch Island, Canada
Bedre Chocolate Company-Chickasaw Nation, Sulphur, OK
Cheekbone Beauty-Anishinaabe, St. Catharine’s, Canada
Beyond Buckskin-Turtle Mountain Band Chippewa, Belcourt, ND
Kotah Bear-Navajo, American Fork, UT
Etkie-Navajo, Albuquerque, NM
Ataumbi Metals-Kiowa, Santa Fe, NM
Red Lake Nation Foods-Red Lake Chippewa, Redby, MN
Urban Native Era-represented by multiple tribes, Los Angeles, CA (Our VISTA Kelly owns the tote bag from this brand!)
Thunder Voice Hat Co.-Navajo, Los Angeles, CA
8th Generation-Snoqualmie Tribe, Snoqualmie and Seattle, WA
Sequoia Soaps-Mohawk and Northern Paiute, Quebec, Canada
Indigenous Cosmetics-Sicangu Lakota, and Chippewa Cree, Denver, CO
Bison Star Naturals-Taos Pueblo, Taos, NM
Raven Reads-Metis and Cree, Saskatchewan, Canada
Skwalwen Botanicals-Squamish, Brackendale, Canada