The trading post offers Minnesota's largest selection of traditional and contemporary handcrafted, authentic Native American art and crafts.
While the trading post has a special relationship with members of the Mille Lacs Band, art from tribes across North America are represented throughout the store. In operation since the late 1910s, a small exhibit area is located in the front of the trading post's sales room floor that tells the history of the site and focuses on the trading post's original owners, Harry and Jeannette Ayers.
Items for sale include the region's finest porcupine quill baskets, beadwork, birch bark products, sculptures, pottery, moccasins, jewelry, dream catchers, dance regalia, paintings, music, locally harvested wild rice and maple syrup, and a wide selection of beads and other arts and crafts supplies. The trading post also carries commercial products like Pendleton blankets and Minnetonka moccasins, as well as a large selection of books by and about Native Americans from Minnesota and throughout North America.
The trading post helps sustain and encourage local artists to continue working with crafts as a part of their cultural heritage. Artist-in-residence programs and Native art events give visitors an opportunity to meet local Native American artists and learn more about the techniques and materials that they use.
Gifted artisans among the Ojibwe and other tribes have always made beautiful and ingenious containers, clothing, tools, and other objects for their everyday use and enjoyment. Today Native American artists are influenced by traditional knowledge and resources, but often incorporate contemporary themes or materials in their art.
The Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post has highlighted extremely talented artists throughout its history, from bandolier bags by Cheryl Minnema to sweetgrass baskets made by Margaret Hill. Artists Maude Kegg and Batiste Sam, Mille Lacs Band members and employees of the museum and trading post, were nationally and internationally renowned for their beadwork.
The trading post currently features work by over 250 Native American artists, including many premier Midwest Native artists such as Melvin Losh, Josef Reiter, Pat & Gage Kruse, Cheryl Minnema, Joyce LaPorte, Cynthia Holmes, Sandra Sam Panachyse, Clyde Estey, Susan Zimmerman, Marlene Fairbanks, Carly Bordeau, Steve Premo, Jeff Savage, Nancy & Thressa Foster, Ruth Schaaf, Tashia Hart, Denise Lajimodiere, Jeaneen Lonehill, Mike Marshall, and Dawn Dark Mountain.
Learn about the history of the trading post.
The trading post is open year-round. No admission fee required. See Hours and Admission.
If you can't make it to the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post store, you can find some of our handmade Native American art in the Minnesota Historical Society online shop.
Minnesota Historical Society members receive a 10 percent discount on their purchases. Become an MNHS member today!