The Native American Health Center in Oakland, California is joining the grassroots BUY NATIVE campaign by promoting local Indian entrepreneurs at its “Red Friday—Holiday Indian Market” event on November 30.
“We wanted to create an opportunity for these vendors to promote themselves and give people a chance to get their holiday gifts,” Jordan Skye Paul, a member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes and a Nez Perce, Hopi and Lakota descendant, told Indian Country Today Media Network.
Skye Paul, the event coordinator at the Health Center, said Black Friday and Native American Heritage Month inspired the creation of the inaugural event. A simple post by a friend on Facebook gave birth to the idea, she said.
Her friend Levi Jared, Navajo, posted:
“The annual upcoming ‘Black Friday’ frenzy is almost here. I'm all for buying gifts for the holidays, but I love supporting local business owners, Native artisans, crafts people, etc., rather than corporations. What about organizing a ‘Red Friday’ event featuring the works of Native artists and local business? I'd gladly spend my money there on meaningful gifts that help support families and people trying to make a living. Food for thought."
"He was more than happy to have the idea be passed along and come to life," Skye Paul said.
The Native American Health Center in Oakland will host Red Friday indoors (due to the weather) on November 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The crafts fair will feature about 20 vendors including artists, designers and jewelers—most of them urban Indians in the San Francisco Bay area. Among the artwork sold will be: “Aztec jewelry and clothing, Tibetan tapestry, lots of beadwork, various quilts, and one Native entrepreneur will be working on building her small business selling Native foods,” Skye Paul said.
“We’re not charging vendors, we’re just opening up the space and promoting their work,” said Skye Paul, who added that the Native American Health Center will operate a booth selling items like water bottles and t-shirts with all proceeds from the Center’s sales benefiting scholarships for Native youth.
The Native American Health Center was established in 1972 and has six physical sites in the bay area. In addition to offering medical, dental and behavioral health services, the Center works closely with the community. "We have programs for our Two Spirit community; we have an HIV/AIDS program, an Alcohol and Drug Program, a suicide prevention program to name a few," Skye Paul said.
The Center expects a strong turnout at Red Friday. “We have almost 14,000 followers on Facebook,” and promotion of the event has received an overwhelmingly positive response, Skye Paul said.
“We are spreading the word this holiday season in support of the BUY NATIVE campaign to buy from our local Native entrepreneurs,” Skye Paul said. “We hope to make this an annual celebration!”
Learn more about Red Friday at www.facebook.com/RedFridayNov30. Visit the Native American Health Center website at www.nativehealth.org.