White Bison Native Art Will Offer Genuine Native American Apparel and Jewelry
by Tim Ervin
On February 12, 2021, an announcement may have been lost in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic about a beautiful and rare animal spotted in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains.
It was a white bison, discovered in Dogwood Canyon Nature Park in
Lampe, Missouri. Bison founders named it Takoda, a Sioux word translating to “friend to everyone.” The white bison has been a symbol of peace and good fortune in American indigenous cultures. Once
estimated that one in one million bison were born white with only a few hundred existing in the 1800’s, the population of the magical creatures has grown due to the work of conservationists and farmers.
The name “White Bison” will take on an added distinction later this summer with the opening of the White Bison Native Art company with a tagline not unlike its living namesake: Traditional. Native. Proud.
The company expects to begin the sale of culturally branded apparel and jewelry that capture the Native American experience later this summer through online sales and, later, with select retailers. The company is the inspiration of Virginia and Hank Fields, mother and son and members of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. The startup of
the business is financed through Venture North Funding and Development, a nonprofit, tax exempt commercial financing organization covering northwest Michigan.
“The Fields are doing many things right to begin a successful business,” said Laura Galbraith, President of Venture North. “They have devoted time to researching the opportunity. They used practical and academic training and available tools and consultants to prepare their business plan and financial forecast. They will start their business in a way that differentiates the quality and unique character of what they sell while bootstrapping costs while they develop a market presence.”
“Keeping tribal affiliations, heritage and culture alive is a priority and White Bison Native Art will be part of this revival,” said Hank Fields. “It is the mission of our company to do this through culturally branded apparel and jewelry that capture the Native American experience.”
The firm will sell apparel with words and graphics serving a social purpose, displaying what a person wants to show to the world. Jewelry will include things like earrings in the shape of dreamcatchers, long a symbol of Native lore, or a bracelet with turquoise stones that reflect a grounded and confident life.
“Our competitive edge will rest in the quality, authenticity and exclusivity of what we sell,” said Virginia Fields, also a skilled artist, especially with bead work. “We will continue to build relationships with Native Americans and work as partners to respectfully market their crafts. Our products will tell stories about the culture, beliefs and identities of Native Americans, being mindful of the Seventh Generation Principle that we want to leave behind a world that will benefit seven generations into the future.”
“We also have a technology edge,” said Hank Fields who has substantial prior work experience and advanced degrees in business administration, project management and intellectual property law. “We understand the importance of market segmentation, understanding buying preferences, and using the internet and social media to make our products and presence known and to offer ease of use and expediency to our customers.”
“In growing our business, we want to succeed in a way that empowers others, that encourages Tribal members to aspire and attain their goals including those related to their education and training,” he added. “And we also want to send a very clear message to Native American artists about the importance of their work in communicating stories that need to be told. With the good work of our artistic partners, we will become known as a business that captures the traditions and pride of great Native art. The Fields are encouraging artists and potential retailers to contact them at: email@example.com or 818-523-3241.