According to 2012 census data there are over 270,000 Native-owned small businesses in the United States! As we recognize and celebrate Native American Heritage Month this November, we encourage you to find and support Native-owned businesses in your community. Our Native American Heritage Month InTENtional List includes awesome businesses owned and operated by Native entrepreneurs across the country. Ready, set, #SpendLikeItMatters!
If you scramble to enjoy Indian fry bread at festivals and special events, you’ll be delighted to know that you can get the real deal anytime you want! Open since 1992, the acclaimed restaurant, The Fry Bread House, serves authentic Tohono O’odham fry bread topped with your choice of beans, chorizo, chilies, or butter, honey, and sugar. The original owner, Cecilia Miller of the Tohono O’odham Nation, was a recipient of the James Beard Award and owned the restaurant until she died and handed the baton to her son, Michael Perry. Fun fact: In addition to their fantastic fry bread, you can order their delicious burros, tamales, stews, or menudo!
If you have yet to visit Denver’s only American Indian restaurant — what are you waiting for? In 2008, Matt Chandra and Ben Jacobs (of the Osage Nation) opened Tocabe. Together, the pair sought to share the Jacobs family’s traditional Native recipes with Denverites. The unique restaurant is known for its delicious fare including grilled bannock, Indian tacos, and posu bowls. But their fan favorite menu item? The bison ribs! Visit their North Denver location or their location in Greenwood Village. Fun fact: Tocabe sources most of its fresh ingredients from Native owned farms and local growers.
Independent bookstores are reputably unique hubs for community,and learning — and Birchbark Books is extra special. Both an online retailer and a robust local bookstore, Birchbark Books is native-owned by author Louise Erdrich. With a special emphasis on Native American children’s books, locally sourced Native art, and one-of-a-kind merchandise, you’re sure to have an experience like no other at Birchbark. Bonus: Birchbark Books has a tiny loft and a “hobbit hole” for children to play and is often host to author readings and community events.
When you come upon Pow Wow Grounds, you’ll come for the coffee, but quickly learn about the wild rice. Owner Robert (Bob) Rice, (of the White Earth Ojibwe Nation) has been harvesting his own wild rice for over 40 years. If you’ve never tried them, rice quiche, wild rice soup, and Indian fry bread tacos are phenomenal pairings for a hot cup of joe. But the significance of this neighborhood coffee shop totally transcends its food and fare — it’s the continual cultural exchange among the Native community and their neighbors that keeps people coming back.
Bonus: The coffee shop is adjacent to a Native art gallery, All My Relations Art Gallery!
Red Planet Books & Comics is the only Native American comic shop in the world! The magical shop is the brainchild of Lee Francis, the CEO of Native Realties, the company also responsible for Indigenous Comic Con. You’ll find the retail shelves stocked with the work of Native artists, writers, and pop culture creators — a unique and beloved niche store for ‘Native nerds.’ Bonus: The comic shop often hosts pop-ups and events related to Native pop culture and local interests.
This cozy Portland coffee shop pays homage to Native ancestry and tradition. While you wait for your latte at Bison Coffee House, you’ll notice many Native artifacts, collected for display by owner Loretta Guzman. The mounted bison head is a tribute to the livelihood of her people, the Shoshone-Bannock tribes. Even the coffee served at Bison Coffee House is from a Native-owned roaster In North Carolina. To accompany your coffee, grab a scone or a cookie, all of the delicious baked goods you’ll find there are baked in-house! Bonus: You’ll often find the coffee shop is host to Native community events and fundraisers!
This unique, family-owned tattoo shop is the perfect spot to get your next permanent ink. Owners Toby and Nisha Supahan bought the shop in 2016 and have staffed the space with caring, talented people who share their love for the art of tattoo. Toby and Nisha are proud to be of Indigenous ancestry with Nisha belonging to the Karuk Tribe and Toby belonging to First Nations, Indigenous, and Black ancestry. Their inclusive tattoo shop is one of few BIPOC owned tattoo establishments in Portland. Fun fact: Toby’s tattoo style often includes animal and organic elements as well as lots of color!
Imagine: you peruse phenomenal Native American fine art and then sit down to enjoy a cocktail. You sink your teeth into a flavorful Navajo fry bread taco topped with pork green chile. Ah, the delights of a day spent at Black Sheep Cafe! This popular Provo restaurant is owned by Bleu Adams and Jovanna Mason who have crafted an elevated menu around Native cuisine and flavors. Enjoy the robust flavors of a buffalo burger, posole, or one of their hearty signature salads!
Owned by United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, The Sacred Circle Gift Shop is home to a curated collection of Native made, designed, and conceptualized goods. The shop is themed around historical and contemporary indigenous activism, and carries a range of items including clothing, organic beauty products, skateboards, children’s books, jewelry, and more. The Sacred Circle Gift Shop also hosts monthly arts events.
Indian Summer is so much more than a vintage store. Owner Adria Garcia has created a community space that truly welcomes all, and has an awesome, fairly-priced, vintage find for everyone. Garcia donates 20% of all profits to charity, and hosts community meals and events to celebrate and come together in community.
Are we missing your favorite native-owned small business? Suggest any native-owned businesses to our directory.
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Intentionalist is built on one simple idea: where we spend our money matters. We make it easy to find, learn about, and support small businesses and the diverse people behind them through everyday decisions about where we eat, drink, and shop.