Matchboxes from Taos Indian Trading Co.

Urban Native Girl’s Hostess Gifts on the Cheap

Lisa Charleyboy

Dinner parties and cocktail parties held at someone’s home have become de rigeur lately. I mean who doesn’t like bringing over a seven layer bean dip or a bottle of wine as the price of admission for a good time with friends? Well that’s not the only price of admission, you must remember to honour your host with a small token of appreciation. My general rule is that the more intimate the party, the larger the gift. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Matchboxes from Taos Indian Trading Co.

Mix and Match

Earlier this week while wandering around Santa Monica, I discovered this store Taos Indian Trading Co. Of course I had to enter and find out what exactly they sold in here and besides the usual art and jewelry I discovered these delightful matchboxes. They are created by Chumash artist Ruby and they can be ordered directly from the store by calling (310) 395-3652 or at

Get it @: Taos Indian Trading Co., $4 USD.

Tea towel, apron and pot holder by Tsimshian artist Bill Helin

Tea for Two

Tea towels are a classic hostess gift that will never go out of style. Try one on in a North West Coast design for size. Your host will be sure to appreciate the aesthetic value of this functional gift. This collection of kitchen accessories is designed by Tsimshian artist Bill Helin. The pot holder and apron are excellent choices for the host who loves to keep the party in the kitchen.

Get it @: Cowichan Trading. $12 CAD.

Shaman Chocolates to benefit Huichol Indians

Kookoo for Cocoa

Chocolate is always a welcome addition in anyone’s household. Why not bring a little Indigenous flavour for your next chocolate gift? I found these chocolate bars while perusing Whole Foods in Los Angeles, and immediately had to buy them. All of the profits from these bars go directly to the Huichol Indians who have used the cacao seed in ceremony and leave offerings of chocolate to show their love for Mother Earth. Now you can leave it for your host to show them your love.

Get it @: EcoExpress. 5 for $20 USD.

Lisa Charleyboy is Urban Native Girl -- visit her at

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gamma's picture
Submitted by gamma on
Lisa, you are thinking like a White person when you write, "My general rule is that the more intimate the party, the larger the gift." It is consistent with what the media always tells us: consume, consume, consume, give gifts, buy, buy, buy. Because consumption lines the pockets of the corporations and financial institutions who run America. Please stop thrusting White views on us. This is not how we were traditionally. We would go over to our host's place and help them feed everyone. We would watch over their kids, tell them stories. If there was a large party coming, we could join our hosts on a hunt. We would gather acorns with them, put them in a basket, weigh the basket down with stones and let the river wash off the bitterness. We would help our hosts cook. After the feasting, we would wash their horses, pray with them, help them clean up. We would be part of our host's life for the entire day. On the other hand, the American media wants Americans to be mindless consumers. Let the Americans be mindless consumers. But please don't thrust that idiotic pseudo culture onto the Indian community.

gamma's picture
Submitted by gamma on
And advocating such gift giving is frustrating when you live in complete poverty. The Indians I know walk all the way to Walmart because almost no one has a car. Many don't have electricity, running water and heat. As it is we give everything we have away. Please don't make us feel that we need to buy stuff from Walmart just because someone on our rez has invited us over to dinner. Let us continue to do what we did traditionally. Please don't Americanize us any further!