Indigenous face masks made in Ontario seeing huge demand from across Canada
Indigenous Face Masks launched less than two weeks ago, but it's already sold more than 7,000 masks.
Tyson Wesley started the online initative on October 13 to help support Indigenous youth living in fly-in First Nations reserves in Norther Ontario with limited access to reusable face coverings.
The support since launching has been "wonderfully overwhelming", says Wesley.
Masks featuring Indigenous designs, including art from the Ojibwa icon Norval Morrisseau, Chipewyan Dene artist John Rombough, Metis artist Leah Dorion, and Sioux artist Maxine Noel, are nearly completely sold out online.
Wesley says he'll be restocking in early November to keep up with the demand.
Born in Kashechewan First Nation but currently residing in Ottawa, Wesley launched Indigenous Face Masks and, for evey mask sold, has been sending one mask to the youth in underserved communities of Attawapiskat, Kashechewan, and Fort Albany.
"It is important to protect our children, but also important to protect our elders who are the most vulnerable," said Wesley.
"There is only retail store in Kashechewan, my home, and access to resources are limited."
Indigenous Face Masks will soon send face coverings to more communities in the region, or any that is in need.
Souced from a Canadian supplier with fabrics from China, masks are $20 each and made up of three layers, including an outer polyester layer and an inner one, made of 100 per cent cotton.
All artists are paid royalities for masks sold. Head online and you'll find face coverings adorned with images of animals, the earth, and "most imortantly, our life givers."
"We are happy that we have been getting so many responses from all across the country," said Wesley. "People want to help our communities and we are in this together."
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