Aina Moja invites the Midcoast to explore indigenous art during International Day of World’s Indigenous People Monday, Oct. 12. Aina Moja is the Expanding Opportunities shop located in the Wellness Health Center, 39 Main St.

Expanding Opportunities supports all indigenous peoples including Native Americans, hunter-gatherers in the Amazon, traditional pastoralists such as the Maasai in East Africa and other tribes in Kenya including Turkana, Pokot and Samburu. All art in Aina Moja is fair-trade artisan support of indigenous people and groups, particularly in Peru and Kenya.

There is no universally accepted definition for “indigenous”; however, characteristics that tend to be common among indigenous peoples are that they tend to have small populations relative to the dominant culture of their country; usually have (or had) their own language; have distinctive cultural traditions that are still practiced; and have (or had) their own land and territory, to which they are tied in myriad ways. Expanding Opportunities prides itself in supporting the authentic traditional art that preserves culture and offers education to buyers about each piece about the culture and artists.

Maasai are best known for their beautiful beadwork, which plays an essential element in the ornamentation of the body. For the Maasai, the use of decorative beading is extremely significant, and jewelry is used to emphasize social status and to signify stages of initiation and passage.

Turkana craftsmen produce many artistic items, especially weapons such as spears, clubs and knives. The Turkana also manifest special skills in metalwork, woodcarving and stone carving.

Pokot art is most often associated with body ornamentation, including beadwork and intricate coiffures and wigs that are worn by young men to signal their membership in a given age-grade. Other forms of art include richly painted gourds and containers used by women for food storage.

Samburu place great significance on physical beauty and adornment, especially among warriors, who take great care with their physical appearance, using hair styling and ochre body painting to create an impression of great delicacy. It was this trait that earned them their name Samburu — Butterflies — given to them by other tribes.

Naya Waserona Women’s Group is a group of Shipibo artisans from the Yarinacocha area of Peru. The woman work with seed bead jewelry, handspun and hand-embroidered cotton tapestries and clothing and clay pottery. Shipibo design is a mixture of intricate geometric patterns that hold cultural tradition.

Aina Moja invites one and all to explore various “one of a kind” indigenous artworks. The shop is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; by chance Tuesdays and Thursdays; or by appointment by calling 930-9766. One may also shop online at

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or