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Supporting local Indigenous artists during Winter Market

First NationsSupporting local Indigenous artists during Winter Market

Both locals and out-of-town visitors attended the second annual Winter Market by the Grand at the Gathering Place in Ohsweken from Saturday, December 16 through Sunday December 17, 2023.

Thirty-plus artisans filled the foyer and Grand River Hall to sell their wares. From intricate jewelry to apparel, baked goods, crystal and gems, pottery, fine art and more, there was plenty to browse and buy for the holidays.

For those who worked up an appetite during their shopping, Chef Tawnya Brant, a 2022 Top Chef contestant, was on site serving up Haudenosaunee fusion cuisine.

Amelia Anderson and Joslyn Jamieson show off some of their beadwork pieces during the second annual Winter Market by the Grand on Sunday, December 17, 2023.

The market was first started last year by sisters Jesse and Dakota Brant, owners of Sapling & Flint Designs, after they wanted to find a way to contribute to the community.

“It’s really an opportunity for people to sell their wares during the holidays. We have a lot of local artists here and during the holiday season, Christmas bazaars and markets are kind of a staple in the community,” said Jesse. “Usually in November, artists will start making their way to several of the different events. So, for Dakota and I, we put this event on as a way to contribute to the community so that our local artists can do some more business and sell their work before the holiday. We really wanted to be able to give that support back to the people who supported us when we started out.”

Vendors display their many items for sale during the second annual Winter Market by the Grand on Sunday, December 17, 2023.

Jesse said that after last year’s successful inaugural event, they knew they wanted to make it an annual event.

“We, and a lot of our vendors wanted to be back at this beautiful venue again, so this year, we have some of the same artists and of course we have a few new ones as well,” said Jesse. “We really want this to be that staple in the community where every holiday season, people are looking forward to it.”

Jesse said that she has to give credit to her business partner and sister, Dakota, as she handles a large part of the logistics for the event.

“I have to give props to my sister,” she said. “She’s very savvy when it comes to organizing events and she really takes the time to plan out all the logistics. She coordinates with the venue management team and organizes the planning and advertising to get the word out.”

Andrea Larromana shows off a unique gem during the second annual Winter Market by the Grand on Sunday, December 17, 2023.

With the market’s success over the past two years, the sisters are already planning for next year’s event and are hoping to expand.

“A lot of the vendors are already asking to be involved for 2024,” she said. “For next year, I think we already have some new ideas to expand on, perhaps something that involves the stage because we really want to add something else to the event on top of finding more vendors.”

Robin Staats, owner of Robin’s Bling & Things, was just one of the event’s many repeat vendors and she noted that the event had a great turnout.

“Last year, this was my top market,” she said. “I do quite a few Christmas markets this time of year and in 2022 this was my top-selling event and it may actually be the same this year.”

Laura Jamieson and Rachele King of Onkwehon:we Market, show off some of their baked goods during the second annual Winter Market by the Grand on Sunday, December 17, 2023.

While the market was free to attend, the sisters encouraged visitors to make a donation upon entry.

“The donation goes back to support the Six Nations Mohawk Longhouse,” said Jesse. “They have building plans to build a new cookhouse. The turnout has been really good and people have been giving some generous contributions.”

Nearly 40 vendors filled Grand River Hall during the second annual Winter Market by the Grand on Sunday, December 17, 2023.

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