TREATY 3 TERRITORY – Northern Dawn Custom Goods is a small indigenous-owned business that provides the Treaty 3 Territory and the District of Rainy River with Indigenous owned, non-toxic, organic, all natural products that are made in Canada and handcrafted with good intentions.
“I went into business because I was a stay-at-home mom, and I was having a hard time finding adequate affordable childcare. I have three little ones; I have a four-year-old, He's starting school this fall and a two-year-old, and a one-year-old so, it can get pretty pricey for childcare,” said Dawn Ashcroft, owner.
“And then if I were able to find a job, I would have just been basically working to pay for childcare which wasn't feasible, and I really enjoy sewing and learning my cultures.”
Through her journey with sewing, Ashcroft was able to reconnect with her Indigenous background and provide access to her culture for her children.
“I'm kind of just learning on the go like through YouTube videos of how to make ribbon skirts and I made like a little jingle dress for my daughter and a grass dance regalia for my son. And I never had anyone teach me how to do that kind of stuff,” she said.
“So I just wanted to be able to have those skills to provide things like that for my children, for myself like I never even had my own ribbon skirt until I made myself one back in September and I also saw a need in Fort Frances, it's kind of a small town, secluded in Northwestern Ontario.”
Through her business, Ashcroft hopes to be able to provide Indigenous goods to those who might not have access to such things.
“I also purchase other Indigenous businesses, I am a wholesaler and a retailer for Sequoia Soaps, and I sell candles and soaps and lotions and such that she makes by hand,” she said.
“It's very important. I believe that the products that I carry and that I make allow other either non-status or urban indigenous people to have access to these, and just to have someone that they know or can trust to do custom orders and stuff like that.”
Until the website is live, Northern Dawn operates through its Facebook page where those interested can contact the page to purchase pre-made creations or even custom order.
“They just ask me if I do custom orders at the time, sometimes I close them if I get too many orders or if I have other things on the go and then I tell them like my pricing, which is a basic ribbon skirt usually is about four ribbons, so their choice of colour of ribbon,” she said.
“I have purchased about 20 volts of the R S Gustafson fabrics so they have a wide range of selection for their choice of fabric as well and then I tell them custom orders are paid in full and they receive their item within Usually about a month.”