Second annual Indigenous Winter Market held at U of M

Community members gathered at Migizii Agamik to support Indigenous student artists

The annual Indigenous Winter Market had its second run last week, Nov. 23 and 24. 

The event was created last year by Vanessa Lillie, director of cultural integration with the office of the vice-president (Indigenous) at the U of M. Lillie had received questions from faculty and departments regarding where to find Indigenous artists studying at the U of M, and so she decided to create the Indigenous Winter Market to showcase the artistic talents and gifts of current Indigenous U of M students. 

This is the second year that Lillie has hosted the market. She said that last year, she was “completely, wonderfully surprised” by the turnout, and also overwhelmed.

“There were over 160 people who came over the two-day span, and it’s only for three hours each day,” said Lillie.

Last year, the market featured 10 vendors during the two days it was held. This year, the market hosted 20 vendors over the two days.

The event was held at Migizii Agamik, where the Indigenous Student Centre (ISC) is located. Lillie said she chose Migizii Agamik as the location for the market to encourage people to see the space and get familiar with the supports the ISC provides for Indigenous students. 

Lillie said there are many events put on by the centre that welcome all people to come and learn, whether they are Indigenous or not. 

“We welcome the entire community to the Indigenous Student Centre for their programming,” she said.

 Last Thursday, the day I attended the winter market event, a warm, inviting atmosphere filled Migizii Agamik and the foyer buzzed with conversation. 

Many students were selling jewelry and artwork, including handmade beaded earrings, patches and buttons, t-shirts and holiday cards. Items like phone grips with beadwork decoration, mukluks and moccasins were also on offer. Prices were determined by the student vendors selling the items, and ranged anywhere from $1 to $350. 

Attendees were standing and talking with one another or sitting in the many comfortable armchairs in the space, catching up. UMFM, the U of M’s campus radio station, was on site playing tunes throughout the event, and cookies, chocolates, candy canes and hot cocoa were being served in the kitchen. 

Lillie said she was excited community members could come experience the Migizii Agamik building, socialize and support the vendors at the market. 

“I suspect that we’ve already outgrown our space,” she said. “Next year we may be moving to a larger space, because we’ve had such a great response from vendors.” 

For details on upcoming events held by the ISC, check out their program calendar at