The Wickaninnish Gallery: A Celebration of Indigenous Culture and Art

Small Business Canada

Amid the hustle and bustle of Granville Island, Vancouver, lies the Wickaninnish Gallery, a small business with great Indigenous artifacts. Founded in 1987 by Patricia Rivard, the Gallery celebrates Indigenous culture and art, showcasing the works of emerging and established Indigenous artists. With a wide selection of high-quality and affordable art, gifts, moccasins, and hand-engraved sterling silver jewelry, the Gallery has become a beloved destination for local shoppers and international guests alike. 

In reality, the Chief Wickaninnish Gallery honours the cultural legacy of Canada’s Indigenous peoples and is named after the great First Nations leader of the Tla-o-qui-aht people from Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island. The Chief’s leadership in the fur trade was so strong that his name, Wickaninnish, meant “having no one in front of him in the canoe,” reflecting the Chief’s position of authority during that time.

The Importance of Indigenous-Owned Businesses

As an Indigenous-owned business, the Wickaninnish Gallery is a shining example of the positive impact that small businesses can have on Indigenous communities in Canada. According to a 2017 National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association report, Indigenous-owned businesses are among the fastest-growing segments of the Canadian economy, with over 50,000 Indigenous businesses generating a total revenue of $10 billion annually.

What’s more, companies run by Indigenous people play a significant role in promoting and maintaining Indigenous customs and values. And so does the Wickaninnish Gallery, which provides a platform for Indigenous artists to exhibit their work and helps to create a sustainable market for Indigenous art and crafts. It supports the livelihoods of Indigenous artists and promotes a better understanding and appreciation of Indigenous culture among Canadians. 

Recognizing the Worth of Indigenous Art and Culture

There’s more to the Wickaninnish Gallery than what the eye meets. It is a destination where people from all over the world come together to share ideas and learn about the unique history and culture of the Indigenous peoples of the America. The Gallery features a wide range of Indigenous artwork, from paintings to wood carvings to jewelry to traditional moccasins. 

That’s not all; the gallery patrons can collaborate with local Indigenous artisans to design one-of-a-kind jewelry for important life events like birthdays, nuptials, anniversaries, and other milestones, making this service one of the Gallery’s most distinctive features. This service supports Indigenous artists and creates a lasting connection between customers and Indigenous culture.

Leaving a Lasting Impact

The Wickaninnish Gallery’s impact and influence extend far beyond the local community. The Gallery contributes to a better knowledge and respect of Indigenous culture and customs by displaying Indigenous art and crafts to an international audience. Doing so helps break down barriers, promoting reconciliation and camaraderie between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Canada. 

Founder Patricia Rivard aims to create greater awareness and appreciation of Indigenous culture and art that would help build bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people across the country. With its commitment to celebrating Indigenous traditions, the Gallery positively influences the larger Canadian community and helps shape a more inclusive and culturally rich society.

Are you an Indigenous art aesthete who loves and appreciates multicultural artifacts? Do you collect artifacts from different cultures across Indigenous communities? If yes, then check out the Wickaninnish Gallery’s official website:

Do you want to support Indigenous cultural art? If the answer is yes, then subscribe to our Indigenous SME Business Magazine, where you can learn all about the latest news related to Indigenous arts and cultural businesses. For more updates, check out our Twitter page @IndigenousSme.

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