Turtle Lodge Trading Post has been a trusted Indigenous supplier since 2006 for traditional ceremonial supplies. We've been on this path a long time. Our primary mission has always been to help people reconnect and get a leg up on their healing journey while providing them with the highest quality, authentic, ethically and sustainably sourced supplies.
One of our most important mandates at TLTP has always been to ensure that our traditional medicines are of the highest quality and come from people who are trustworthy and harvesting in a good and sustainable fashion.
To that end, we compiled our own detailed set of policies and a statement of agreement with our harvesters that helps us become more answerable to our customers, meet the requirements of all regulatory agencies, such as Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, ensures that we are receiving a consistent level of quality, and that our harvesters are harvesting in a sustainable fashion and treating the plants in a way that is conducive to our standards of ethics.
We've had our fair share of discussions with potential suppliers on the ethics of harvesting, for example, making sure that Sweetgrass and Sage are not being pulled out by the roots. It wasn't all that long ago that many traditional ceremonialists were still insisting that the roots be kept on the harvested Sweetgrass. We were one of the first to stand up years ago to say NO, that is not sustainable, and we began refusing braids from suppliers who were harvesting in that way.
This level of attention is especially important for highly popular traditional medicines like White Sage (salvia apiana). This particular medicine is native to California and can only survive in warm climates. Due to its recent popularity, it has suffered severe overharvesting in certain areas by those who do not have the plant or people's best interests at heart.
Worse yet, there are also unscrupulous harvesters who collect from highly polluted areas and sell to unsuspecting buyers. If it's cheap, you need to ask why. It is really important to know where you are getting your medicines from.
In order to protect the remaining wild stands, we are proud to say that our supply of White Sage is now 100% lovingly cultivated with a huge amount of care and respect on land owned and beautifully nurtured by devoted people we are proud to have been a customer of for many years.
We also personally know our Organic Semah farmers here in Canada. Our whole leaf organic Semah comes to us direct from their fields and is treated with great respect on every step of its journey.
We are a properly licenced Semah provider. Underground Tobacco available on the market from sellers who are not licenced has to travel up here from the U.S., passing over the Canadian/USA border and many hands along the way. (Yes, even Canadian grown Tobacco has to make its way south before going north into unlicensed hands.) Some of those suppliers even wet down the Semah to add weight to it in order to make customers think they are getting more for less. Imagine that horrible energy all over your Semah!
We have spent literally hundreds of hours carving out a path through the Tobacco Act legislation to recognize our traditional use of ceremonial Semah and to put a system in place to ensure that it is being use the way it is intended.
No short cuts and disregard for the medicines here!!
We were also one of the first companies to publicly talk about the plight of overharvested Abalone and how important it was to purchase only farmed abalone and not poached abalone. (Karen once gave away two boxes of large Abalone shells to an Indigenous organization when she found out the shells had come from poachers. She refused to sell them on principle but felt they needed to be honoured in the best way possible).
We have spent countless untold hours over the last several years sourcing Canadian Wild Turkey hunters and farmers and helped carve out and create a whole new industry for Canadian feathers. We walked through this path with them and are now offering feathers that you can guarantee are 100% Canadian, have been processed without chemicals (they are gently steam-cleaned) and are from birds that we believe have been shown the greatest respect possible on their journey to get to you.
We created an entire industry out of Indigenous made cloth pouches, which has been hugely supporting a FN Algonquin family for several years now. There is no way we can compete with cloth linen pouches from China, so we don't even try. People who genuinely want to support us, will do so.
Our Bear Grease is collected from Bears that have been hunted and traditionally respected from start to end by Indigenous hunters whose business it is to manage the Bear populations. We are honoured by and have huge respect for these suppliers.
We paid attention when we heard our customers complain about the rising costs of shipping. We hired a webmaster to customize our shipping app to provide a $5 letter mail option for smaller items. This is now saving customers as much as $10-$12 on small orders!
We also carry OFFICIAL Orange Shirt Society orange shirts. There are a lot of people selling orange shirts right now. Many do not realize that there is an origin story and copyright that needs to be respected. The Orange Shirt Society expects that everyone who creates and sells their own orange shirt "Every Child Matters" design will make a donation to them for every shirt sold.
For more information about this important history, visit our blog post Official OSS Orange Shirts.
We've been trying for years to find Indigenous people willing to make things like tripods and copper cups and other things we currently have to outsource. If you're interested, PLEASE please contact us. We've got all kinds of work for you and more! We continue to create a growing number of jobs for both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
We've also taken a huge amount of care with our packaging to reduce our carbon footprint. We converted just about everything to paper several years ago, and we are constantly looking for environmentally friendly solutions for all our needs.
With every step along this path, we've always tried to do our best by our Peoples, and that includes our Plant Peoples. We are not perfect. We certainly don't know everything. So we encourage those who do know to please step forward and walk with us gently on this journey together. We love you! We need you! Miigwetch for being there
With love and deep respect from our fire to yours...