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Northland Visions Native American Store

Northland Visions, started as Northland Native American Products, and has grown from a home-based, mail-order business into a gallery and retail space where one can find treasures of the land, original items made by Native peoples from the Woodland and Plains tribes of the upper Midwest in what is now Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, Canada and other northern states stretching from Montana to the east coast.

Northland Visions started in 1995, and originally dealt entirely in gift products, making use of traditional north woods gifts. Hand crafted birch bark baskets and canoes filled with rare gourmet foods from the Ojibwe people and the Minnesota northland centering around natural hand harvested Wild Rice of Minnesota. These products are still available, and they come with the stories of their origins. For example, our wild rice is hand harvested from natural rice beds in the traditional way on reservations’ lakes and rivers. The Ojibwe people pole their canoes through the rice and use wooden batons to knock it into the canoes. Then the rice is hand parched using wood, not gas, to preserve the aroma and the natural brown-green color.

Here at Northland Visions we sells packets of our wild rice, along with syrup and jellies made from the wild berries of the land. Among the many mouth watering types, we offer chokecherry, hawthorn, highbush cranberry, rose hip, and wild plum, flavors that one certainly cannot find at many grocery stores in town.

In December of 1999, we moved into the Ancient Traders Market at 1113 East Franklin Avenue. We always wanted to be able to show the beauty of the arts, but the decision about where to open the gallery was not obvious. People from the Native American community helped us realize that Franklin Avenue was the right home for the Northland Visions gallery.

Many people in the community have very great pride in our success and they are feeling a sense of ownership. We here at Northland Visions are proud to be a part of this growing community, to share with others what the community has to offer through arts, foods and the culture.
The gallery is truly an oasis, a sensual experience given over to celebration. One walks in to quiet strummings of music, the gentle scents of sage, cedar, or sweetgrass, and a warm greeting from the owners and the staff. Then, one can wander and drink in the beauty of art, scent, and words. There are dream catchers, earthen candles, and books. There are sculptures of elders, horses, eagles, and the White Buffalo. There are dance sticks, drums of all sizes, and blankets of many colors. And there are prints and paintings whose names offer only a hint of their visual poetry. “Lakota Twilight,” “The Matriarchy,” “Feeding the spirit,” “beyond Time,” and “Circle of Life” are only a few of the many paintings that have adorned the walls of our gallery. The art of Northland Visions is unique and diverse, some of it traditional, some of it quite modern. The art tells stories. And one can learn about the background of the artists as we share the how and the why of the person behind the art in order to honor them.
We have seen how good people feel when they come into this space. We believe they feel the emotions of the art itself. Everything in here has been created to be shared. Come share the experience with us here at Northland Visions and feel the spirit.

Beautiful Bead Work

BEADWORK

Native art was transformed in the 1700’s with the introduction of the glass seed bead. What was then a simple glass colored bead has now grown into an endless pallet of color and finishes. Seed beads have opened the doors of expression that continues to evolve to this day. From three dimensional flower barrettes to colorfully bead moccasins the talents of the Native people continue to amaze the eye. Our goal is to keep the tradition alive by bringing you amazing pieces from our talented artists. To learn more about beads check out the history section. To see more examples of fine bead work, venture into our store. We also offer an ever expanding assortment of beads and supplies at our store in Minneapolis and soon on the web too!

Mi Gwitch!

Brown Wild Rice WILD RICE

Hand harvest wild rice has been a part of the Ojibwe culture since their migration to Minnesota over five hundred years ago.  Menomin or the good berry, grows only in the lakes and rivers of Minnesota, Wisconsin, parts of Michigan and straight north into Canada. Wild Rice is hand harvested using a canoe, two sticks to beat the stalks releasing the mature seeds, a pole to push you through the thick rice beds and a lot of hard work. This exquisite food is gluten free, low in carbohydrates and is loaded with body healing vitamins and nutrients including protein! This aquatic grass seed is a natural compliment to any meat or fish dish or can even be served alone. Gourmet chefs around the world are finding wild rice to be a flavorful side to their best creations. Easy to cook and healthy to eat, take some home today and add it to your families favorite dish!
To learn more about hand harvested wild rice check out our dedicated wild rice section, also check out our recipe section to try something new. At Northland Visions we always carry hand harvest wild rice for your enjoyment or as a wonderful gift to share with friends and family!

Mi Gwitch!

Moccasins-woodland-ojibwe-beadedMOCCASINS

The word moccasin comes from the Algonquin people of the upper great lakes. It has stuck ever since they told the first settlers the name of their foot ware. Moccasins come in many shapes and sizes. Theses characteristics are determined by the materials available, the conditions of their use and most important the ingenuity of their makers. Tried and tested for generations the moccasin is one of the most durable foot ware ever produced. It is designed to breathe, to resist moisture, provide warmth, protect The foot and be easily repaired.  The woodland center seam is the most widely used design. Made from one piece of leather with its seam protected from ware on the top it is also the most durable.  The two piece or hard sole design was born to necessity as the plains bore a hazardous landscape of hard surfaces and sharply barbed plants. The pucker toe, another woodland design, is the most represented by commercial makers and lends itself well to the combination of moccasin and shoe. We carry the Manitoba Mukluks brand and an assortment of hand made moccasins.  Our Tipi moccasin with fur edge and fleece liner is our most popular and versatile as a slipper or shoe. Our tall Mukluk is in high demand in our frigid northern winters with its high sided fleece lined design covered in warm fur, this Northern Native design will keep you warm in any weather condition and in comfort to boot!  Step into the world of moccasins and realize the comfort you have been missing!

Mi Gwitch!

TURQUOISE JEWELRY

Native American Turquoise Jewelry has been produced for thousands ofTurquoise-jewelry-sterling-silver-native-american years. One of the oldest mines is over 2000 years old.  Early native jewelry was not made with silver, that process did not come along until the 1850’s. It was primarily stone beads and inlaid pieces on wood, bone or shells. Earlier techniques used tools made of sandstone, clay, wet sand and leather to shape  and polish the finished product.  It is said silver smithing entered the art form in the 1850’s. Today silver work has been elevated to an art form with intricate inlaid stones and fine silver detail that each artist brings with his or her own touch. Our jewelry is hand picked to ensure authenticity and quality. Peruse our selection and enjoy the artistry of our Native American silver smiths.

Mi Gwitch!

Gift-box-custom-northland-ojibwe-food-wild-riceFOOD PRODUCTS & GIFT BASKETS

Northland Native American Products is our line of Native foods. We choose foods that stemed from our families Ojibwe heritage and represented what the wilds of Minnesota had to offer. We bring you wild berry jellies and syrups, flavored honeys and native herbal teas, maple syrup & pure maple sugar,  maize, our own family recipie of fry bread, wild rice pancake mix, buffalo snack bars, wild rice soups and of course hand harvest lake and river Wild Rice! Buy any of these items as a stand along item, or have us put together a unique gift box that will make an everlasting impression!

Mi Gwitch!

PAINTINGS & PRINTS

Art is subjective, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder right? I ask you then to subject your self to the beauty of Native art and tribal expressions captured on canvas and paper. From Plains artist Joann Bird to Woodlands artist Sam English you will be amazed at the beauty and imagery captured by the fine native artists of the Northlands! Peruse and enjoy a feast for the eye.

Mi Gwitch!

Dream-catcher-ojibwe-grandmother-baby-craddleboardDREAM CATCHERS

Rich in history the dream catcher has a unique story and is found in the lore of many tribal nations of North America.  It is found most prevelent in the Woodland tribes of the Ojibwe or Anishinaabe peoples.  Traditional given to new borns by thier grandmother the dream catcher represents the prayers and thoughts of the giver for the receiver. Hand crafted and intricatley designed this simple piece of history comes in many shapes and sizes and makes a great gift for any loved one or dear friend. To learn more about the lore and history of the Dream Catcher go to our dream catcher page. Explore the mystical creations and pick out your perfect dream catcher in our online store.

Mi Gwitch!

Sculpture-Ojibwe-Gordon-van-wert-stone-sculptureSCULPTURE

From the delicate pipestone and soap stones were created totems and pipes used in the everyday life of Northern Native American Indian. Through trades and gifts these items spread across the Americas exposing the vast trade routes that lay hidden to outsiders for generations. Today stone, wood, metal, antler and bone, are the materials artists use to bring to life the Native imagination. Come see our collection from tradional to mordern sculpture. Rich imagery you can feel, from cut steel, struck stone, poured metal or carved antler. Of course you can touch it all you want, after you purchase it!

Mi Gwitch!

Bed-wall-supplies-Northland-Visions-Minneapolis-MinnesotaBEADS & SUPPLIES

Northland Visions carries one of the largest selections of Native art supplies in the surrounding area. From Czech & Japanese Beads to Porcupine Quills. We pride ourselves on not only finding the highest quality supplies but also carrying those hard to find items like dentalium shells or full otter pelts for hair ties. We also carry a large assortment of deer, elk and buffalo hides. Because of the vast number of items we will be adding them slowly to the web site so check back on a regular basis to see what’s been added.

Mi Gwitch!

PIPESTONE

The mysterious stone that only shows its self above ground in Pipestone Minnesota. Called the blood of the earth by the local tribes, pipestone is the sacred stone of the Plains and upper Mississippi native peoples. Used to make the ceremonial pipe or “peace pipe”.  Peace pipe was the white mans name for the Indian pipe because when ever they brokered a peace treaty the Native leaders would pray with the pipe on their newly made treaty decision, passing it around to all that were in attendance hence it was named the peace pipe. Unknown to the government delegates, the pipe was used to carry the prayers of its users to the creator on the smoke it created, hence asking for  blessings on their decisions, thoughts and even guidance on upcoming events and not only used for peace treaty signings.  The soft stone carves easily and can maintain intricate details and a nice soft polish revealing its rich brick red color.  Come a enjoy a piece of history from Minnesota!

Mi Gwitch!

4249-3-quilled-birch-bark-basket-ojibwe-porcupine-boxQUILL WORK

The use of porcupine quills to decorate native clothing and artifacts predates beads and was the traditional method of decoration. Quilling is laborious and dangerous considering the animal they come from. Each quill needs to be thoroughly cleaned then dyed for color and soaked to be made pliable for weaving. Since each quill is no bigger than a tooth pick, a new quill has to be continuously added to keep the design flowing. This art method requires patients and dexterity to say the least and with the introduction of beads it has been slowly fading into history.  Come and enjoy the detailed artistry of quill work from earrings to quill baskets and be amazed by their imagination.

Mi Gwitch!

Sweet-grass-ceremony-four-secred-medicineSAGE, SWEET GRASS, CEDAR, TOBACCO

The four sacred items used in traditional native life are Sage, Sweet Grass, Tobacco, and Cedar. Part of the medicine wheel and the four directions these four powerful medicines have specific meanings.  It is passed from one generation to the next, the importance and proper gathering of these plants as a way to protect your mind, body and spirit. Sage is burned with the prayers of protection from evil spirits and is the most commonly used in the smudging of ones body or home. Sweet grass is burned with the prayers of purity or cleansing of the mind and body. Cedar is burned with the prayers of healing. tobacco is burned with the prayers to give thanks to the creator for all that is provided, it is also left behind when you take something from the earth weather it be plant or animal for the same reason.  A humble thank you for a bounty that continues to provide.

Mi Gwitch!

Blanket-wall-trade-wool-pendleton-woolen-mill-robe-indianTRADE BLANKETS

A long with beads, blankets have been a long standing trade item with native americans. The Stroud blanket known as the Hudson Bay blanket from England was one of the first blankets to be traded, best known for the color banding along the edge. Blankets were revered because they were colorful and lighter than the full buffalo or elk robes. In the 1800’s US blanket companies began to emerge like Capps, Buelle, Racine Wollen Mills, Oregon City Mill, and Pendleton Wollen Mills. Today Pendleton is the last of the early American blanket companies and still makes some of the finest Native American design blankets in the world. Another widely traded Native blanket is the star quilt. Early victorian seamstresses were known for teaching Indian women the art of sewing, one of the many new items created out of this instruction, using modern materials like thread, needles and material, was the quilted blanket. Come and see our large assortment of Pendleton blankets, star quilts and accesories.

Mi Gwitch!

Birch-bark-ojibwe-northern-minnesota-basketBIRCH BARK

A versatile natural material that was used by the Ojibwe and other woodland tribes for containers of various sizes and even canoes. The most well known is the winowing basket used in the wild rice parching process. This simple tray was used to toss the dried wild rice in the air allowing the chaft to float away while the heavy rice fell back into the tray, simple but extremely effective.  Other uses were cut out templates for bead work, maple sugar containers, quill boxes, toys, canoes, and even homes called “Wigwams”. Check out our large variety of birch bark items in our online store.

Mi Gwitch!

BAGS, PURSES, & ACCESESORIES

From medicine bags to purses what native woman doesn’t like a good bag! beaded of course! Weather it’s a beautiful pendleton tote, a silky smooth elk hide purse or a traditional brain tanned beaded pipe bag we have a variety to choose from. If their is one thing in the native culture that has the most variety in shape, style and function it’s the native bag. medicine bag, Tee Pee bag, parfleche bag, pipe bag, tobacco pouch, possibles bag, bandolier bag, octopus bag, saddle bag, cedar bag, feather case, awl case, strike a lite bag, ticket bag you get my point. from leather to raw hide and beaded, painted and quilled the leather pouch had endless possiblities and functions. Come and see what bag awaits you in our online store!

Mi Gwitch!

Hand-Drums-raw-hideDRUMS, RATTLES & FLUTES

The native drum is said to replicate the heart beat of Mother Earth when played.  It is played to honor and remember all that she provides. The native rattle has many uses, .
The Flute has a history of passion and love. Made by a man who wished to court his bride to be, the flute was suppose to show the softer side of the warriors heart. Words could be spoken and have no meaning but music requires emotion that is difficult to fake.

Mi Gwitch!

Horse-dance-stick-Greg-Bellanger-plains-effigyDANCE STICKS

The native dance stick was and still is an extension of the dancer, designed to show others their vision or past quests. A way to convey a dream or show ones medicine, or even ones clan. The dance stick is personal and can have many meanings like the horse effigy dance stick of the Plains Indians: A warrior who has lost his horse might carve a horse stick in honor of his friend to share in honoring dances.  An Ojibwe medicine might carry an Eagle head staff during prayer honoring the eagle that is believed to act on mans behalf with the creator Gitchi Manidoo.  The mysterious and interesting world of dreams are interpreted many times  through a warriors dance sticks and staffs. We invite you to wander through the wonderous world of dance staffs peering into our native art and history.

Mi Gwitch!

POTTERY

One of the oldest art forms is the clay pot, most prevalent in the southwest the clay pot was very useful as a versatile storage device for seeds, water and other perishable foods. In the north pots were crude in shape and rarely decorated compared to the south where they acted as blank canvases awaiting a master piece! Hand coiled from river clay and painted with earth paints they became a marker to their tribe and even family by the designs and colors used. A road map following generations of ingenuity and creativity that has become one of the most notable art forms in native culture. Today pottery has taken a modern role as an art form, using modern materials and designs. We carry both the traditional and contemporary styles of native pottery. Come see for your self what beauty awaits you!

Mi Gwitch!

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9 thoughts on “Home

  1. Roberta

    Do you have beading classes – looking to make Native American Jewelry of my own. I used to do this as a child, but haven’t in years. If not, any referrals?

    Reply

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