Shawish Market, a pioneering virtual marketplace, is indigenizing the e-commerce landscape. Founded by Amanda Bernard, a proud member of the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation (New Brunswick, Canada), Shawish Market has rapidly gained traction with over 150 vendors and more than 800 authentic Indigenous products. 


Launched in 2022, Shawish was created to celebrate talented Indigenous artists through a trusted platform while encouraging the continuation of traditional Indigenous practices. Since the launch, Bernard has been recognized as one of The Peak’s Emerging Leaders of 2024, while the business has been celebrated for its commitment to authenticity and community empowerment, featured in outlets such as APTN, Tribal Business News, AUTM, and as a 2023 MIT Fellow, highlighting its significant social and economic impact. 


Dedicated to preserving the integrity of Indigenous art and combating cultural appropriation, Shawish Market deliberately verifies each seller’s Indigenous identity, ensuring that customers can trust and support Indigenous people directly. This approach guarantees that every transaction directly supports Indigenous communities’ economic empowerment and well-being. The platform uniquely incorporates the traditional practice of trading, which allows Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to engage in exchanges just like our ancestors did. This innovative feature responds to community feedback, particularly suggestions from Elders, thus fostering a deep connection with traditional Indigenous values.


Moreover, Shawish sets itself apart by offering an economically accessible platform for Indigenous artists and removing common barriers such as monthly and transaction fees. Shawish makes it easier for artists to profit from their work and grow their businesses sustainably. “Shawish represents a movement towards reclaiming economic spaces for Indigenous communities. Our platform is a step towards decolonizing market practices,” states  Bernard. 


Bernard invites everyone to explore the platform’s vibrant selection of goods, where each purchase supports the preservation of Indigenous artistry and contributes to the economic prosperity of Indigenous communities. As Shawish expands, it remains committed to adapting and enhancing its platform based on vendor feedback, ensuring it remains a supportive and empowering community for Indigenous creativity and entrepreneurship.


Shawish Market stands as a beacon of Indigenous empowerment in the digital age. It provides a space where traditional practices meet modern technology and where every purchase has the power to make a positive impact. The platform’s dedication to authenticity, community, and economic accessibility makes it a unique and valuable addition to fostering economic resilience and prosperity for Indigenous Peoples. 


About the name and logo:

The platform’s name represents a reclamation of culture and honours Bernard’s ancestral heritage. Shawish was her family’s original last name. Her ancestors chose the name Bernard (named after their favourite priest at the time) when settlers forced Indigenous Peoples in Canada to change their surnames. The Shawish logo features a sun illustrated by Bernard’s little sister, Jasmine Bernard. 


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