Indigenous creatives use Small Business Saturday to highlight culture

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As a A new survey by American Express, 55% of small business owners estimate that Small Business Saturday will contribute significantly to their total holiday sales this year. A group of small business owners have come together in the Rochester area to do their part to educate their community about their culture.

A locally made market for small businesses and creators, Small Business Saturday means a lot.

“Small Business Saturday is Small Business Saturday, and being a small business, we decided to change people’s perceptions and focus on local visibility where we brought in Native creators and entrepreneurs from all over the world,” said Angelina Hilton, founder of Native Made.

That includes native inventors like Clifford Reddy III, a Seneca artist who grew up on the Allegheny Territory.

“You’re telling a story,” says Redye, owner of Redye Leather Company.

He makes handmade leather pieces that mix pop culture with a bit of Seneca culture.

“People have put a lot of work into it,” he said, “so I think it’s really important to have a highlight day.”

The day allows him and other indigenous entrepreneurs to educate the community through their small businesses.

“Leather is a big part of our culture, and the tooling is something that I’m drawn to,” he said.

“Being on Haudenosaunee land, home to six different nations, what could be more local and small than the original inhabitants of this land?” said Hilton. “So by helping again, bring visibility to the cultures around this. A certain area is very important.”

The day celebrated not only small businesses, but where they came from.

“Every booth you go to, you learn something about each person’s ethnicity and a little bit about them,” Redye said. “Even though you didn’t get anything, I think you came away with something.”

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