Bringing Dene inspired arts and crafts to the world, one-click at a time – that is if the internet connection in the community of Łutselk’e was reliable.
On Tuesday, Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation (LKDFN) launched Caribou People Creations, an online store dedicated to selling locally-made clothing, jewelry and tools.
Rosie Catholique, manager of Caribou Peoples Creations says, she has had to learn a special kind of patience to deal with the connectivity issues in her community.
“It’s honestly, a lot of patience. A lot of trying not to get mad over it. Because it’s not just me, it’s the entire community,” she says.
Communities across the North suffer from poor internet services and in this case, that means fewer products available for LKDFN’s new online shop, Catholique says, “it really hinders my job. But I try to make it work.”
Over a year in the making, Catholique has been working on the visual direction and social media aspects of the site, bringing Dene culture and design to the forefront of the website.
Local artists and band members are encouraged to bring their designs to Catholique, where LKDFN will pay for the goods and help distribute them online.
Catholique says she is always accepting creations of all sorts, here.
“I feel like, without this, a lot of these artists wouldn’t have such a platform to display their artwork,” says Catholique.
Making carvings out of moose antlers, “makes me feel good,” says Sonny Marlowe.
Buying local is important because it helps not only the artist but the community as a whole, he adds.
Each item is “handcrafted using traditional methods and materials,” says Hanna Catholique, administrator for LKDFN in a press release.
Rosie Catholique says she is still in the beginning phase of her plans for the website but hopes it can reach international audiences.
She says her biggest goal right now is just making sure the website is fully stocked with all the artist’s work, considering it took almost an hour to upload a single image, due to poor internet.
Many residents have experienced the residential school system, Catholique says, this website gives them an opportunity to re-connect to their craft.
“It’s really amazing to see how the culture has been kept alive over here,” she adds.
Catholique hopes by next week Caribou People Creations will be fully operational and updated with new products.