When we compiled our collection of gift ideas for the 2021 Holiday Gift Guide, we discovered that we had—entirely unintentionally— gathered a significant number of works by Indigenous artists. Representing Native Americans, First Peoples, Inuits, Dinés, Kuikuros, Quechas, Tbolis, Sherpas, and more, artists with storied ancestral ties to the land really stole the aesthetic show this year and we are inarticulably excited to share with you their magnificent creations.
You may have spotted some products from Indigenous artists and designers on previous days of the Holiday Countdown but, in case you missed them, here is a list of gifts we've already shared to catch you up before we continue with today's collection.
Unified Spirits Crewneck
Starting off our new introductions we have the Unified Spirits Crewneck from Bandiidas Art in Canada. The design is a manifestation of modern civilization, a branching of societies and cultures rooted in a central unifying humanity. There is an ancient native prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor which predicts a separation of humanity into two sects—the Eagle in the north, representing emotional intuition, and the Condor in the south, a symbol of industrialism and rationalism—that will ultimately come together. Finding inspiration in this prophecy, Bandiidas Art created this sweatshirt, reimagining the bird symbols as a wolf and a jaguar, uniting under the light of the sun as depicted using Northern and Southern icons.
Ancient native prophecies say: “When the Eagle of the North and the Condor of the South fly together, Indigenous peoples will unite the human family”....“Indigenous knowledge keepers will come together with world leaders to define a path of healing for all the humans and the planet – Mother Earth.” (1)
A design inspired by my South American Indigenous roots, while growing up in North American unceeded territories. Hearing the story of the condor & the eagle, the prophecy has come to light within many of us. This is my version, a jaguar facing a wolf, along with the north and southern sun symbols. (2)
Staying with tops, our next stop has to be The NTVS. While Bandiidas Art reimagines prophecies, The NTVS, in Minnesota, redesigns pop-culture symbols with playful twists of words and some epic indigenous references to create designs that are simply flawless. This a brand driven by people with electrifying creativity and crushingly sharp wit and we want nothing more than to channel their brilliance by wearing these show-stopping pieces.
Two Native American guys trying to fill a hole in the market that is missing the voice of the people. Our mission is to teach the youth the importance of embracing culture and history while building a Native American clothing company. We do that by crafting Native apparel designs that you can be proud to wear. Modern Native American clothing and Native prints that have a deeper meaning. Maybe it's a light hearted or funny design. Maybe it's a serious issue that needs to be addressed. We use art and streetwear mixed with our culture to create one-of-a-kind designs that embrace our Native American culture and heritage. The NTVS is for everyone who supports indigenous culture. (3)
Tochtli Cultural Wear
Tu Eres La Medicina T-Shirt
If you know any ARCANISA team members personally, you've definitely seen us sporting our Tochtli Cultural Wear Tu Eres La Medicina t-shirts—likely with our Somos Semillas hats from Licuado Wear. With a message of healing that inspires a meditation on our connection to the Earth, the shirt and the words of Maria Sabina carry us through even the most trying times.
Inspired by the great Healer Maria Sabina. An empowering message in uncertain times, You are the Medicine, Tu Eres La Medicina. (4)
Filip + Inna
Switching from streetwear to more formal fashions, our next destination is the Philippines. Founded by Lenora Cabili, Filip + Inna offers collections of truly magnificent clothing pieces ranging from bone-china like blouses that boast the architectural lines of churches transcribed with pure pineapple palm leaves to staggeringly beautiful cocoa linen dresses hand-embroidered with traditional cross-stitching that form trails of colourful petals. Each piece is a work of art that anyone would feel privileged to wear.
Filip + Inna brings into each garment ancient techniques of weaving, embroidery and beadwork from different indigenous groups of the Philippines. The human hand is seen and felt in each creation. The artisan breathes life into it. Filip + Inna’s mission is to create while also reviving - even preserving - traditions of the Philippines that are in danger of becoming lost and being forgotten. We work with many groups of talented artisans across the archipelago, giving them an opportunity to continue practicing their traditional craft while improving their livelihood.
From our hands to yours, may the beauty, depth and integrity of each garment bring a deep appreciation for what is distinctly Filipino - distinctly Filip + Inna. (5)
Fifth x Rock Deep
We jump back now to the United States for some kicks as fly as fry bread from Fifth and Rock Deep. We swooned when we first saw these sneakers—honestly, we went weak at the knees! And how could we not? Each Pair of M1s is a contemporary complement to the timeless Diné moccasin design with a slender sleek tie wrapping a high neck template and following the same orange suede materialism. The design is a nod to the treasured ancestral tradition as well as a move forward into a modernized aesthetic and elevated functionality that is brilliantly successful. If you're Indigenous, these sneakers are an expression of pride and the power of heritage. If you're a supporter of Indigenous culture and designers each pair is an opportunity to spotlight Diné artistry without feeling like you are culturally appropriating. And if you're simply on the hunt for some phenomenal footwear, you'll love the unique silhouette, the bold but unquestionably versatile colour and the soft supple comfort of a sueded form.
Thunder Voice Hat Co.
With our feet covered, we next head to Thunder Voice Hat Co. in Arizona. Each hat is an entirely unique piece, a signature of style and voice that follows the vision of timeless design imbued with talismanic elements like vintage coins, baby's breath, and cedar. The hats are magnificent crowns that bestow on us endless power and elegance. And don't forget to check out their collection of contemporary serapes which are Indigenously made from start to finish.
ThunderVoice Hat Co. carries on the lineage of Native Fashion that emerged from a collaboration of cultures. The Iconic Navajo Brim hat has spanned through the ages, as reminder of generations past. Each hat is vintage hand-sourced, steamed and shaped, creatively visioned, and lovingly made. Each hat holds stories, purpose, and the hope that you wear it with pride and meaning. (6)
While we're warming up with hats, let's journey to Greenland to visit Inuit Quality. In discussing this gift list one ARCANISA member stepped in and questioned "Did you mean Iceland?" to which the answer is emphatically "no"! Please don't misunderstand our excitement—we love Iceland!— but Greenland has Inuit Quality and that alone earns the world's largest island a warm place in our hearts. As the winter weather spills in, we turn to the Inuit Quality for outwear that will prepare us to stylishly, cozily, and safely venture into nature regardless of the climate.
Our aim is to create designs inspired by the beautiful and rough Greenlandic nature and founded on the idea that everybody can move around in the nature both comfortable and natural...We design and create our clothes with high quality and functionality, but always with highest respect and consideration to the Greenlandic Nature. We adapt our clothes to the Greenlandic climate with its cold winters, without compromising its function. For us it is truly important that our customers can move around without any constraints throughout all 4 seasons of the year.
With our newest collection “SAVE OUR ARCTIC” and “INUIT PINNGORTITAMUT PINNGORTITAQ INUNNUT” (The people to the nature and the nature to the people), we want to emphasize the importance of preserving the Greenlandic nature by creating clothes that brings people and nature together to produce nature experiences. With a genuine hope that these nature experiences will generate much more awareness about how the climate changes affects the Greenlandic nature. By facilitating nature experiences, we want to increase the focus on our climate and climate changes and encourage our customers to think in climate preserving initiatives. (7)
Reusable Fur Hand Warmers
With our gloves out, we share with you our winter must-have: the Aurora Heat Reusable Hand Warmers. We fully admit that our Miami-acclimated bodies are downright fragile in snowy climes so if these palm warming patches of dense, velvety soft sheered beaver underfur can keep us cozy you can be sure they're magic! Plus, the warmers "are made with ethically sourced wild beaver fur from the Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur Program™...a program [that] ensures sustainability and preserves cultural heritage for Indigenous peoples."(8)
Confident in a rich trapping heritage and the practicality of fur for warmth, I created Aurora Heat in 2015. It has become my passion to offer ways for you to make a difference. I dream of a world where humans are thoughtful about meeting basic needs, using natural and reusable products. A world where natural fur is the first choice for warmth, replacing single-use products, fast-fashion, and synthetic/petroleum based materials. Like many of you, I am committed to Nature and the interdependency between all living things. I love designing and creating sustainable, new-to-market products. In our workshop at the end of each day, there is no garbage in our bin. We use all parts of our pelts in deep respect and gratitude to the Land and to the beaver (tsa). It is this world view that has formed our company's slogan, "Live in harmony with Nature."Together, it is an honour to bring you our traditional way of keeping comfortable and warm. I promise you will love it! tThá Huná – May you live a long time- Brenda Dragon (9)
Medicine Of The People
Medicinal Skin Salves
On the off chance you set off into the banks of snow without your Inuit Quality gloves and Aurora Heat Hand Warmers, use the Piñon Sap Salve from Medicine of the People to save your wind-chapped hands. With a formula rich with piñon sap and pesticide-free bees wax, emulsified in a blend of skin-nurturing oils, this concentrated balm can calm even our most irritated winter skin. Or try the soothing powers of the Universal Skin Healing salve with goldenseal, osha, greasewood, calendula, shea butter, jojoba oil and a secret blend of traditionally crafted wild herbs.
If I was going on a trip and could only choose one of our travel tins it would be the Pinon sap salve. I have found it to be almost indispensable. In the air, land, sea in the mountains or the jungle this salve will be there like your best friend or faithful dog. It will never fail you. Rub it on a burn, a skinned knee, sooth the sting of a wind burned face or apply to a boot rubbed foot after hiking all day. Carry and help family and friends they will inevitably turn to you with that knowing look “sorry to bug you, I know I should have got one too, can I borrow that salve again”.(10)
We adore all of these ingenious indigenous artists and we're confident that their creations will win the hearts of everyone on your holiday list this season! Browse the full Holiday Gift Guide for even more gift giving inspiration.