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Makers United works with Indigenous American artists and makers across the US to overcome barriers to accessing the resources to expand their businesses or develop their craft.

With the guidance of Native leaders, Nest is gaining a comprehensive understanding of the resources available to Indigenous American maker populations. With this knowledge, Nest will articulate ways to increase access to these tools as well as identify resource gaps that our programming can potentially fill.

Artist: Stuart Sampson (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) | On The Horizon #8


The artistry and diversity of craft across Indigenous American communities have long inspired a market for traditional craft techniques that highlight the heritage of the maker. This initiative will reveal how Indigenous American makers are showcasing and preserving their cultural craft traditions today and what support they need in the areas of business development and market access.

Photo Credit: Del Curfman (Crow Nation of Montana), Crow Colors Studio


Many organizations currently support different aspects of what it means to promote economic inclusion among Native communities, particularly through craft. In collaboration with Native stakeholders who have extensive expertise and insights, Nest is organizing a series of community discussions so that we may better pursue collaboration and design responsive programming that complements these individuals and organizations’ knowledge and experience. 

Artist: Corey Stein (Tlingit), b. 1963-
Title: Wrangell Petroglyph (2015)
Medium: Seed beads handsewn on felt

Native Led Program Design

To help concept and build our work, Nest partnered with Hope Nation, a Native woman-owned company providing strategic services to organizations and entities working in Indigenous and rural communities. Their Director, Cecily Engelhart (Ihanktonwan/Oglala Lakota) led the partnership with Nest. Nest also worked with Native Artist and Organizer, Dawn Spears (Narragansett/Choctaw). Dawn is the Director of the Northeast Indigenous Arts Alliance (NIAA) and works regionally supporting Indigenous artists. As implementing partners, these women have helped Nest to reimagine program design and brand collaborations in ways that are grounded in community voice. Upcoming programs will focus on ethical partnership, cultural appreciation and investment in Native-led efforts.

Photo Courtesy of Dawn Spears


Chief Curator, Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian

DANIELLE LOTE (Cherokee Nation)
Associate Director of Advancement, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

KELLY HALLMAN (Cherokee Nation)
Founder and Executive Director of the Indigenous Adolescent Girls’ Empowerment Network (IMAGEN) and the Indigenous Justice Circle


Are you a Native artist or maker? Becoming part of Nest’s Makers United program is free and gives makers and artists access to a library of educational content that has been designed by experts to address common challenges shared among artist and maker entrepreneurs such as product development, merchandising strategy, and pricing analysis.

As we learn more about the unique business challenges Indigenous American makers face, we will design responsive educational content and market access opportunities that leverage Nest’s expertise and network of industry partners to best support you as you grow your business and evolve your craft.

Artist: Margaret Jacobs (Akwesasne Mohawk)
Title: Antler Earring and Ring Set from the Blood, Bone, Beast Collection (2019)
Medium: Elk Antler and Fabricated Sterling Silver
Photo Credit: Taylor Robinson


Funding Partners

Bloomberg Philanthropies
West Elm
Josh Mailman Foundation