November is National Native American Heritage Month, a celebration of the contributions, traditions, and history of the many Indigenous cultures of the United States. This month and throughout the year, we honor and celebrate our makers and team members of Native American heritage by featuring their stories and learning how Indigenous culture has shaped our community. Woven into the fabric of our history are creators who defined leatherworking and how we #leathertogether!
Nominate yourself or another Maker to be featured for Native American Heritage Month by sending a DM to @tandyleather with a photo of yourself, your work, and a brief bio.
Meet our maker's and associates:
Tandy Store Manager, Rapid City
I've been with Tandy's since 2018, starting in Spokane, WA. However, I grew up in the Tandy world as a 2nd generation leathercrafter, learning leatherworking and moccasin making from my Dad. I enjoy all aspects of leatherworking but tend to gravitate towards my heritage and traditional Native crafts, moccasins, drums, medicine bags, and Regalia. I'm inspired most by learning from others in the trade and sharing the art with new crafters, especially those in community groups like the VA, MMIW, Mental Health, and Youth groups. My favorite saying for my customers is, "You're only as limited as your imagination."
Lee Standing Elk
Tandy Store Associate, Santa Fe
Lakota & Dakota
“I'm originally from Montana and am an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribe of Poplar. I am of Lakota & Dakota lineage from Standing Rock and Dakota people of the Poplar area. I love working at Tandy Leather in Santa Fe because I get a chance to use my skills at helping customers with their arts & crafts. I seed bead, sew leather and fabric, and Pow-Wow regalia. The best part of working at Tandy is meeting customers from all the Pueblos here in New Mexico. We exchange ideas and learn new leatherworking skills. We find solutions to complete projects that encourage creativity within each other. I am most proud of the shared learning here at work with my boss and other sales associates in our store. Learning from each other improves our ability to share our skills and knowledge with our customers.”
Owner, Country Chic Leathers
Traci is a tack maker/artist and Native American leatherworker from Nevada. “I strive to make one of a kind, rustic-looking tack and handbags and I love to put a Native American flair to my work. I make everything by hand myself but have a very supportive family that helps along the way. I hope to keep making leather and bringing smiles to customers faces for years to come.” Follow Traci on Instagram @countrychicleathers!
Mary Naranjo, Pueblo Tewa from the Pueblo of Santa Clara, New Mexico
Sales Associate in Colorado Springs, CO.
"I am most proud that I have learned a lot of patience from working in leatherworking and maintaining leather quality. I owe my achievements to the fantastic team I work with, not to mention having an outstanding supporting Manager who has helped me get better at leatherworking."- Mary Naranjo.
Nominate yourself or another maker to be featured during Native American Heritage Month by sending a DM to @tandyleather with a photo of yourself, your work, and a brief bio!