Lorrie Lawrence Executive Director & Artist/Event Coordinator

Appreciate, don’t appropriate. To artist Lorrie Lawrence, that’s not just a call to action. It’s a step towards Edmonton becoming a city that’s embraced Reconciliation and is healing with and alongside the Indigenous community. It’s a city she already calls home, as does the Indigenous Artists Market Collective (I.A.M) she co-founded in 2018. Today, Lawrence, who’s affectionately known as “Dirty Auntie,” has taken on the role of Coordinator and helped I.A.M become a collective of more than 80 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists who promote authenticity over appropriation, by providing a place for market-goers to purchase authentic, local, Indigenous art.

I moved here from Calgary as a toddler with my single mom and our trunk in the 70’s. It’s here in Edmonton that I grew up, had my biggest ups, and my hardest downs, but Edmonton has always been my home. I love that Edmonton is a gathering place for Indigenous peoples from all over North America, whether they come for school, work, or whatever—so many have made this their home.

The Indigenous Artists Market Collective, or I.A.M Collective for short, is a family, a community, and an inclusive safe space of creativity wherever we go. Comprised of over 170 Indigenous artists, creatives, entreprenuers and knowledge holders, we strive to reclaim spaces/places for Indigenous artists, to bridge the gaps, and break down barriers that have previously kept Indigenous art out of the mainstream marketplace—all while sharing our stories and our teaching—“Appreciate Don’t Appropriate”—with the world around us. We can be found every SATURDAY 8-3 pm at the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market and Fort Edmonton Park – inside the Indigenous Peoples Experience, as well as countless festivals, conferences, and gatherings. Our Annual Holiday Market and signature event is the jam on the bannock. Each year we bring you more artists and entertainers to help INDIGENIZE YOUR HOLIDAY!

We all have heard the importance of shopping local: that the supply chains are not strong, and that our small businesses are struggling. I want people to see the strength of it—for EVERY dollar spent with local artists and entrepreneurs, 65% goes directly back into our local economy. When we support Indigenous artists by making a commitment to Appreciate not Appropriate, we are supporting their independence, their healing journey, their homes and extended families, the traditional skills, and our language and stories. As an urban Indigenous person, these things are so precious and life-giving.