Your browser is not supported. We do our best to optimize our websites to the most current web browsers. Please try another browser.
Skip to main content

Meet Lara Siouï: Navigating Modern Waters with Traditional Designs

Lara Sioui in natue
Onquata Native Paddle

Whether hanging on the wall of a chalet or cutting through the pristine waters of Northern Ontario lakes, Lara Siouï’s traditional first nations designs are striking.


An innate desire to express her heritage coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit made starting her own business an easy decision. “It was just natural that we decided to paint paddles because paddles for us are very symbolic of our ancestors.” Once the community around them noticed their beautiful designs, Onquata Native Paddle was born.


Decorative Paddle On Wall

Onquata Native Paddle

A Family Affair

Starting any business is daunting, but it wasn’t a task Lara took on alone. Her mother, Lise, also possessed that same entrepreneurial passion. “We spent a lot of time in the forest, and it came very naturally because I’m already an entrepreneur, and my mother was a businesswoman.” Between the two of them and the demand of the community around them, they created what would become Onquata Paddles.

Related: Beautiful Pieces of Indigenous Art and Decor to Shop For Your Home


three wooden paddles on a white wall above a bed

Becoming More

As far as origins go, it doesn’t get humbler than creating something in a woodshop to decorate your home or paddle a remote lake. Despite Onquata’s small beginnings, they’ve achieved big things and aren’t planning on stopping anytime soon.

In 2019 Onquata was chosen as the image of Quebec National Day, representing both the whole of the province and the traditions of the first nations communities that reside within. “It was big for us. It was Indigenous with Quebecois.” Being chosen to represent the province beyond the First Nations community was an acknowledgement of how fundamental the Indigenous community is to Quebec, and how well Onquata embodies that.

Aside from these accolades, the company is committed to growing. Lara’s designs have expanded beyond paddles to beautiful native leatherwork purses and coat hangers. The company has even partnered with Charest Lofts, a chain of Quebec-based boutique hotels, to decorate their spaces.

Related: Meet Amy Hall: The Founder of Goldilocks Goods and Pro Beeswax-Wrap Maker



Lara Sioui outside in winter

Onquata Native Paddle

Building Up Community

Lara’s commitment to the community and the people that make it up is evident. Through an unyielding desire to bring recognition to the people who pioneered the art she now uses as her medium, she and Onquata are helping to improve the lives of those around them. “I would like to have more Indigenous employees, to perpetuate a positive message for First Nations. I would like to have very good conditions for my artisans and employees.”

Lara’s vision of the future of Onquata both honours and utilizes the timeless artistry and traditions of the past. It’s fitting that, from the origins of paddles she made for herself, Lara has been able to navigate the tumultuous waters of modern business with grace and dignity.


Woman holding tan leather purse

Onquata Native Paddle

Where to Find Onquata?

Visit Onquata Native Paddle’s website and find them on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.


Images courtesy of Onquata Native Paddle

Latest News

Find out which HGTV superstars will battle it out in the latest season of Rock the Block.
February 28, 2024
We break down everything you need to know about this latest urban trend.
February 28, 2024
The average cost of a one bedroom increased by nearly 14 per cent this past year.
February 26, 2024
Peek inside the Hiltons' long-time vacation home that just hit the market.
February 23, 2024
These bedroom designs are dramatic and unabashedly glamorous.
February 23, 2024
These beauties will inspire you to pack your bags and explore the country.
February 22, 2024
It's been a busy year for Randy Spracklin. Find out what's next on his agenda.
February 21, 2024
Floors due for a facelift? These are the most important factors to consider.
February 20, 2024
These cooking spaces prove a galley kitchen can be the most functional of them all.
February 19, 2024
This content is restricted to adults of legal age.
Please enter your birthdate to confirm.
Date of Birth