Native-led businesses, Indigenous artists showcase work at Big Sky Indigifest
Native American-led businesses and Indigenous artists showcased their work in Billings this weekend at the first Big Sky Indigifest.
Among the entrepreneurs at the event was Chippewa Cree tribal member Luanne Belcourt. She runs Cree-ations, selling items like healing boxes that include sweetgrass for smudging, jewelry, and tea.
Belcourt says her daughters are artists, like her mother was. She recalls growing up and seeing items manufactured abroad and meant to look Native American.
“That’s not Native American," Belcourt said. "We have our own way of making things and we have our own philosophy behind some of the things we make.”
Belcourt says it’s critical for Native American creators and businesses to support and promote each other.
Assiniboine tribal member of the Fort Peck Nation Tracie Garfield is with the nonprofit Western Native Voice, one of the groups to sponsor the event.
“There’s so many people that live in Billings, Native people, and you really don’t see ‘em, but they’re running businesses, they’re graphic designers, they’re artists, they’re media people, creating videos and whatnot, so this is just a chance to showcase some of that," Garfield said.
In addition to a vendor fair Saturday with about 20 businesses and artists, Indigifest included two nights of fashion, comedy and music.
The organizers of Big Sky Indigifest hope to make it an annual event.