Indulge in Indigenous offerings both beautiful and practical at Whiskeyjack Art House, located at 110 Avenue and 97 Street.
This establishment is an Indigenous owned art gallery and boutique that sells original Indigenous art work, jewelry, and products like soaps, lotions, Personal Protective Equipment (masks and sanitizers), candles, teas, and jams.
The store is owned by husband and wife James Lamouche and Lana Whiskeyjack.
“We are both nehiyaw Cree people. I am from Saddle Lake Cree Nation and my husband is Cree/Métis from Grouard in northern Alberta. I am also a multidisciplinary artist with a very supportive husband and our daughter Serina is the manager,” says Whiskeyjack.
Whiskeyjack explains that the name of the Art House has sentimental attachments.
“Whiskeyjack Art House is named after my great-great-grandfather whose Cree name kwêskaycak was misspelled as Whiskeyjack and given as a last name. During that time, nêhiyawak (Cree people) were being forcibly displaced from their lands and relocated on government-controlled Indian reserves. To me, my beautiful last name Whiskeyjack reflects intergenerational cultural resilience, resurgence, and restoration.”
Family connections to the business was another reason why the couple decided to open the Art House.
Whiskeyjack says, “Our relatives, Jo-Ann and Jerry Saddleback, opened Câhcacêp Art and Tea House three years ago, in this space. They wanted to focus on other pursuits and approached us about taking over the gallery. Câhcacêp Bows Arts is a traditional bow maker and training company that continues to operate out of a small workshop on our site.”
A great emphasis is placed on maintaining the authenticity of the Indigenous store in all facets of its operations. All of their artists, artisans, and suppliers are Indigenous, local, or both. The business also offers a variety of goods and often hosts collaborative culinary and arts events with Pei Pei Chei Ow, an Indigenous catering company. Their beautiful art deco-inspired space is also available to rent for small events, meetings, and classes.
It is easy to find a reason to visit this locally owned store. Whiskeyjack Art House is a hidden gem tucked away in an interesting and historically significant building in the heart of the McCauley neighbourhood. One of their mantras is that supporting locals makes our communities stronger and our city better.
WHISKEYJACK ART HOUSE
11051 97 St, #102
Open Tuesday to Saturday, noon-5 p.m.