About the Trading Post
The Trading Post is free for everyone. Hours are:
- Memorial Day Weekend-Labor Day: Tue-Sat 10 am-5 pm
- Labor Day-Memorial Day Weekend: Wed-Sat 11 am-4 pm
The Trading Post offers the area's largest selection of traditional and contemporary handcrafted, authentic American Indian 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, birch bark products, painted gourds, black ash baskets, sculptures, pottery, moccasins, dream catchers, jewelry, beadwork, dance regalia, paintings, music and locally harvested wild rice and maple syrup. The Trading Post also carries commercial products like Pendleton blankets, towels and pillows, as well as many different styles and sizes of Minnetonka moccasins. The Trading Post offers a large selection of books by and about American Indians from Minnesota and North America and has a wide selection of beads and other arts and crafts supplies.
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 Indian Art Markets give visitors an opportunity to meet local American Indian artists and learn more about the techniques and materials that they use.
Art of the American Indian
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 American Indian 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 pottery made by Maria Martinez to sweet grass baskets made by Margaret Hill. Mille Lacs Band members and employees of the museum and trading post, Maude Kegg and Batiste Sam, were nationally and internationally renowned for their beadwork. Thousands of visitors have left the site with a piece of history that was made for them. Continuing in that tradition, the Trading Post currently features works of art from American Indian artists including Steve Premo, Cheryl Minnema, Joni Boyd, Joyce Shingobe, Melvin Losh, Joe Goodman, Calvin Moose, Merlin Stone, Cynthia Holmes, Jeff Savage, Wanesia Misquadace, Clyde Estey, Josef Reiter, Pat Kruse, Mitch Zephier, Travis Novitsky, Susan Zimmerman, Carly Bordeau, Doug Limon, Joanne Bird and Chholing Taha.
The outstanding assemblage of artifacts that Harry and Jeannette Ayer obtained from Ojibwe and other Indian artisans during the years they operated a trading post at Mille Lacs Lake forms the basis of the present Mille Lacs Indian Museum exhibits.
Learn about the history of the trading post.