New store opens doors to learning, celebration and connection
A newly opened shop in downtown Charlottetown, Indigenous PEI, marks a significant opportunity for cultural celebrations, connections and important conversations amongst locals and visitors alike. Located at 111 Grafton St, across from Confederation Centre of the Arts, the new store showcases the artwork of local Indigenous artisans, hosts workshops and events, and connects the public with the Island’s Indigenous communities.
The storefront celebrates Indigenous artisans and the rich, enduring culture of the Island’s First Peoples. Operating as a social enterprise, the shop features artworks from over 20 Indigenous artisans and that number is only expected to grow.
“The new Indigenous PEI storefront creates a visible space in a high traffic area that has long been needed for our talented local Indigenous artists to proudly share their culture and sell their work,” said Chief Junior Gould of Abegweit First Nation. “This new venture invites residents and tourists of Epekwitk (PEI) to appreciate and connect with Indigenous culture in an authentic way.”
Artwork available for purchase includes wood-burned art, quill art, leather-crafted goods, beaded jewellery, handwoven baskets, and much more. To ensure authenticity and a local focus, all artisans showcased at the store are from PEI or a member of one of the Island’s First Nation communities.
“Each piece reflects the unique stories, traditions, and deep-rooted spirituality of Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq,” said Chief Darlene Bernard of Lennox Island First Nation.
The space has also been thoughtfully designed to foster connections and encourage dialogue. Large TV screens mounted to the shop’s walls highlight upcoming Indigenous events and experiences across the Island. The all-Indigenous staff are also well-versed in sharing connections to the community and answering questions from the visiting public. So far, staff have found that many shop visitors are interested in gaining a greater understanding of reconciliation and the Island’s Indigenous culture.
“This is such a meaningful opportunity for our community to engage with locals and visitors, share our culture, and have valuable conversations, ” said Jamie Thomas, Chairperson of the Indigenous Tourism Association of PEI.