In the small downtown Aiken, South Carolina shop Elk Eagle Originals, visitors can find authentic, hand-made American Indian works of art and jewelry, representing the diversity of Native cultures—from Mi’kmaq to Zuni, reported aikenstandard.com.
Co-owner Ron Colombe (Sicangu Lakota/Rosebud Sioux) is happy to tell the history behind each piece—verified by a certificate of authenticity attached to it.
“I’m always eager to talk,” Colombe told the local newspaper, smiling. “It’s a passion of mine for people to learn about Native American things because there are people out there who think Native Americans don’t exist anymore, that we’re a people of the past.”
Colombe himself hand-crafted several of the large Dream Catchers hanging from the ceilings. Real bow and arrows adorn the walls.
Colombe’s artwork reflects the style of his Lakota heritage—from intricate bead jewelry to images created from the feathers of various birds, glued to leather and framed. He additionally makes candles and oil lamps.
The shop owner is also a spoken word artist, narrator poet and published author. He was born Ronald Keith Eagle Feather, son of Vernon Eagle Feather and Betty Thin Elk (Sicangu Lakota), on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. Taken from his parents at age 2 for undisclosed reasons, he was raised by John and Sarah Colombe. He calls his birth mother the inspiration for his book of poetry Silent Shouting, Quiet War (October 2004).
Colombe co-founded the store with his wife Kit, on November 1, 2010, originally inside the Aiken Mall. Recently, Colombe relocated his store to the downtown district, where local small businesses support one another, he said. Business has been strong since he opened his doors on Laurens Street in downtown Aiken on July 6.
Visit Elk Eagle Originals at 127 Laurens St. N.W., Aiken, South Carolina. The store’s current hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., closed on Sundays.