Sapling & Flint: Indigenous Jewelry Design That Celebrates And Preserves Tradition

Sapling & Flint: Indigenous Jewelry Design That Celebrates And Preserves Tradition

Sapling & Flint, an Indigenous lifestyle company specializing in gold and sterling silver jewelry, was founded by identical twin sisters Dakota Brant and Yonenyà:kenht Jesse Brant. Their brand’s mission is to disseminate knowledge about the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and to design contemporary clothing that reflects the aesthetic sensibilities of their community.

The sisters’ experience as mothers of Kanyen’kéha-speaking children made them cognizant of the need to improve the lives of Indigenous youth by providing them with accurate and positive portrayals of their communities in mainstream media. As a result, in 2014, they established Sapling & Flint, formerly named Twindian Designs, a name change that took place in April 2017.

A Creation Story Tradition

According to the Ohswekén’a Creation Story, the physical world as we know it was created by twin boys called Sapling and Flint, who were born to Skywoman’s daughter. Sapling & Flint is the name the Brant sisters gave to their business in remembrance of these twin brothers and in appreciation for the wisdom and experience they gained from their clan’s elders.

Revitalizing Haudenosaunee Arts

Silversmithing has a 400-year tradition in Haudenosaunee communities, beginning with the introduction of trade silver by European traders wanting the Haudenosaunee’s connection into North American markets. Trade, and jewelry’s place within the trade, is part of the story of Canada, and Sapling & Flint is creating “conversation pieces that share the story of Turtle Island” while revitalizing arts-based jobs in the jewelry industry for the Ohswé:ken community.

Supporting the Local Community’s Economic Activities

The Brant sisters are proud to maintain their company’s Indigenous and local roots by working with other Indigenous and Canadian companies. They use the same techniques used by their wampum and silversmith forefathers throughout the colonial and pre-contact eras to craft one-of-a-kind pieces of jewellery from genuine wampum, silver, and sterling silver.

Sapling & Flint: Indigenous Jewelry Design That Celebrates And Preserves Tradition

A Company With a Heart

Since their inception, an annual portion of Sapling & Flint’s profits have been donated to cultural revitalization projects in the Six Nations community, including Haudenosaunee language immersion programs, longhouse building projects, and supporting youth to attend world-class Lacrosse tournaments, the North American Indigenous Games, and cultural programs.

In 2019, the Brant sisters hoped to release both their formal social venture program and their full-service wholesale catalogue, with a percentage of the proceeds going toward the rehabilitation of the Haudenosaunee language in Ohswé:ken.

Sapling & Flint has grown from a full-service secure online store to a storefront business and a wholesale service with six retail locations across Ontario, Quebec, and New York state carrying their brand. Jesse and Dakota Brant are proud Mohawk Turtle clan women who are keeping Indigenous culture alive through their business while creating jobs and supporting their community.

Setting the Indigenous Precedence Once and For All

The Brant sisters are truly an inspiration, not just to their own clan and Indigenous communities but to people around the world. Their passion for their heritage, their commitment to empowering Indigenous voices, and their tireless advocacy for issues affecting Indigenous peoples are all incredibly admirable.

Through their work, the Brant sisters have helped to create space for Indigenous voices in the larger Canadian society and have encouraged others to take pride in their identities and histories. Their success is a testament to Indigenous communities’ resilience and strength and the power of working together to create positive change.

As we continue to work towards a more just and equitable world, we can all learn from the example set by the Brant sisters and strive to uplift and empower those who have been marginalized and oppressed.

Wanna check out the handmade jewelry by Sapling and Flint? Then visit their official website at Subscribe to Indigenous SME Business Magazine to read more about innovative Indigenous designers, artists, and business owners in Canada. Our bimonthly magazine gives insight into the individual business’s journey and stories of not giving up on dreams. For more latest updates, follow our Twitter page @IndigenousSme.

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