Blackfoot women in southern Alberta are benefitting from a new effort to sell their handmade goods.
An online portal was recently created, as part of the Blackfoot Women’s Empowerment project.
Project coordinator, Crystal Good Rider, says their work also aims to address economic disparities in Blackfoot communities, which exist at disproportionate rates compared to other communities.
“I think having an organized structure for women to go to sell their products was something they were wanting to see,” Good Rider said.
Almost all the women involved in the project have some sort of connection to the University of Lethbridge.
The project began in 2018 with the formation of an Indigenous women’s council.
It submitted a proposal to the Women and Gender Equality Canada department with the federal government and succeeded in getting $350,000 in funding for the three-year project.
“Our website was launched on Nov. 6. and we’ve just been trying to get the word out there that the website is there and you know just continue to make improvements to it,” Good Rider said.
A community needs assessment was conducted to understand what Blackfoot women felt they were missing.
And that’s when the idea of entrepreneurial opportunities was born, along with showcasing Blackfoot female role models.
The online gallery and store showcases 10 artisans and includes artwork, jewelry, accessories, clothing and moccasins.
“In terms of Blackfoot women, we saw that there was a lot of women in our community who are craft people and sell those crafts to make some income for their families.
“That’s where we just wanted to empower women to be able to do that,” Good Rider explained.
She adds with the project already seeing excellent reviews, the plan is to continue adding more talented artisans and crafts to it.