Alaskan siblings tackle Native knockoffs with Indigenous designs

My Economy tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of the people trying to create it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are those in your economy.

Growing up in a tourist town awash with inauthentic, mass-produced souvenirs meant to represent your own culture might motivate you to bring some authenticity back to market.

“There’s a very big market for imitation Native American art,” said Rico Worl, a resident of Juneau, Alaska, and founder of Trickster Co. “Once people get off the cruise ships, they see a lot of it everywhere. And ironically, we’re interfering with that market and making space in our own market.”

(Courtesy of Trickster Co.)

Worl are Tlingit and Athabascan, and he and his sister Crystal draw on the aesthetics of their indigenous heritage to produce designs for the wide variety of items Trickster Co. releases.

Worl started with skateboards but has since added jewelry, umbrellas, dog leashes, blankets, sculpture, stationery and more.

A particularly popular item in the lineup is a deck of cards. Worl developed it in response to the cards available in local stores that featured native design work but traditional kings and queens on the faces.

“I really wanted to make a deck of cards for the next generation that enjoys playing cards and has their own people on it,” Worl said. “I actually made a second deck of cards using the Tlingit words for the numbers to encourage language learning as well. The interesting thing is that this deck still outsells the standard deck to this day.”

Let us know how your economy is doing using the form below and your story may be featured in a future issue of My Economy.”

There’s a lot happening in the world. For everything, Marketplace is there for you.

They rely on Marketplace to break down world events and tell you how they affect you in a fact-based and accessible way. In order to continue to make this possible, we depend on your financial support.

Your donation today supports the independent journalism you rely on. For just $5/month you can help keep Marketplace alive so we can keep reporting on the things you care about.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

| |
Back to top button