While I was in North Dakota visiting my reservation, we stopped at the Turtle Mountain shopping center in town. The aesthetics were fairly plain, and looked as if we were on the set of an old movie. When we walked into the shopping center there were HUGE prints of Chippewa natives, and a few stores that were open. Our lunch at the little diner inside, which was delicious!
As we go to leave the shopping center we notice an interesting sign on one of the doors…so we decide to look inside to see whats going on.
After walking in, it was like we were taking to another place. All of the aesthetics in this little hidden shop were fantastic! The energy I felt when walking in reminded me of a shop I would’ve went to back on the east coast. This was a huge shock to see, after being on the reservation for a few days, seeing nothing but dirt and old broken down buildings. I would say this shop was up to par with the quality of our brand new casino, Skydancer.
Beyond Buckskin launched in 2009 by Jessica R. Metcalfe (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) as a website dedicated to showcasing and promoting our continent’s first artists and original designers. In 2012, the original blog website expanded to include an online boutique as well. The origin story of this boutique is rooted in positive activism and a desire to share our cultures with the world through fashion design.
Based out of North Dakota, Beyond Buckskin is dedicated to advancing creative small businesses located throughout rural and urban communities by providing an online store where customers can connect with Native American fashion designers and jewelry artists.
They currently work with over 40 individual artists and small businesses to get their unique work out to a broader audience. All of their designers advance traditional Indigenous artistic practices by bringing ancient designs, natural materials, and cultural stories to modern fashion.
Diversity, beauty, utility and tradition come together in the garments and accessories we share with the world – from our hands to yours.
While I was there I purchased a lovely Native sweatshirt, and a beautiful prayer doll. The quality of the merchandise is superb. I even got to meet the artist of the prayer doll. She told me all about her story and how these beautiful healing dolls came to life.
The dolls are handmade by Margaret Judy Kakenowash Azure (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) and features pink regalia to bring awareness and strength to those battling breast cancer. I purchased this doll for my mother, and she loves it! I almost didn’t give it up because of how healing it was to hold the doll.
Each doll is made with hide, wool, ribbon, seed beads, and feathers, with pink horsehair and cowry shell detailing. A sacred medicine bundle of tobacco, sage, cedar, and sweet grass fill the body of the doll. Her gift is to provide protection and strength for whenever needed. She wears a protection shell that is sacred to the Anishinaabe people and represents our journey in life. Each is one-of-a-kind with a unique personality. Mashkawizii means ‘s/he has inner strength’ in Anishinaabemowin. This sister doll makes a wonderful gift to celebrate someone, remember someone, or to give someone strength, courage and balance
Check out their Facebook page for news, events, and merchandise updates!
Thank you Jessica… for sharing your talents with the community and helping to restore reverence to our native traditions!
Migwetch and Gizaagiin
Raining in the dawn woman