What we now call southeast Michigan was once land tended by the Anishinaabe or “Three Fires” people — citizens of 12 federally-recognized tribes still live in Michigan today.
It’s important to teach children about the history of Native Americans and the land they live on as it can prevent harmful stereotypes, like the false notion that Native Americans no longer exist in modern society.
More than 30,000 Native Americans reside in Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor and like any modern people, many have started businesses.
Shopping at Native American-owned businesses is one way to support communities — though it is important to keep in mind Native Americans don’t belong to a monolithic community.
Here are some locally Native-American owned businesses in southeast Michigan for you and your family to shop.
- Address: Based in Detroit
This organization, which is named after the spirit of the story, “seeks guidance from ancestral indigenous-based knowledge systems for culture creation and dynamic storytelling experiences through traditional and contemporary music, film, media and design…” The business is made up of a group of native collaborators who craft multimedia installations.
The Akana Group
- Address: 118 S Main, Ann Arbor
This Native-owned small business enterprise specializes in agriculture, turf, construction, forestry, and cleaning equipment to meet the operational needs of different projects.
- Address: 18100 Cross, Fraser
Enmark, a precision machining services business, is a company within Mno-Bmadsen, the non-gaming investment firm of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.
Indigenizing the News
- Address: Based in Ann Arbor
Founded by a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians from Ann Arbor, this news organization seeks to “elevate Native news and voices” and educate non-Native allies. Readers can subscribe for monthly issues.
Legends of Time
- Address: 453 N. Main St. Milford and 309 S. Main St. Rochester
These two shops carry sterling silver, copper and bone jewelry as well as home furnishings, clothing, books, instruments and more.
Native Hands Gallery
- Address: 22720 Plymouth Road, Redford
The Native Hands Gallery is located on the first floor level of the North American Indian Association and has greeting cards, beads, ceremonial materials, books and locally made bags, clothes and jewelry.
Native Kichwa Arts
- Address: 27500 Novi Road, Novi
Located inside 12 Oaks Mall, the shop NTVES sells authentic, handmade clothing, bags, art and blankets.
Vibes with the Tribes
- Address: 4114 Bagley St., Detroit
Michigan’s first indigenous music festival supports Native musicians, artisans and storytellers. The business is accepting donations through a GoFundMe.
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