Tribal Crafts Inc., will hold its annual holiday sale this weekend and next weekend. Storefront hours are Saturdays 10 am to 6 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 86 Halls Rd. in the Old Lyme Marketplace (next to Rob Rivers Salon).
The non-profit organization is based out of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (FCCOL) and the sale of items directly benefits Lakota artists and crafters of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota.
The Lakota people face immense challenges on the reservation. According to 2010 census data, Ziebach County, which makes up the majority of the Cheyenne River Reservation, is America’s poorest county with unemployment estimates of above 75 percent.
Reservation life is about daily survival. Being able to help by way of Tribal Crafts is a vital part of the organization’s mission. Not only does Tribal Crafts affirm and celebrate the beautiful traditional crafts for which the Lakota are known, but it is also an important source of financial assistance.
The First Congregational Church has a 32-year-old partnership with the Green Grass community on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, said Stephanie Kenny, the president of the Tribal Crafts board.
The sale will include arts and crafts from Beit Sahour, outside of Bethlehem, and organic olive oil.
The featured artist this year is Paul Sand, a Lakota artist and Native American activist who lives in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, on the Cheyenne River Reservation. He carves sculptures from cottonwood root, a sacred tree to the Lakota people and says it is not always easy to sell artwork on the Reservation.
Tribal Crafts is also selling the work of Haitian artists affiliated with The Crosby Fund for Haitian Education, a program with strong ties to FCCOL. Other items on sale include hand-made silver and beaded jewelry, vibrant Haitian paintings and sculptures, dream catchers, quilts, purses and more.