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
ADVERTISEMENT

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 

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

Get creative when designing your next kids' room. Opt for fun wallpaper, a window seat, a suspended bunkbed and an art station.
February 7, 2023
Join us in congratulating Heather and Tarek on the arrival of their new baby boy and follow along as they tackle massive flips.
February 3, 2023
A new walk-in shower can make your bathroom feel like a spa retreat.
February 3, 2023
Canadian actor and ceramicist Seth Rogen is renting out his Houseplant home on Airbnb and it's gorgeous.
February 2, 2023
Houseplants are easy and thoughtful housewarming gifts. From edible to humourous, we've picked ten of the best plants to give.
February 2, 2023
The Toronto Home + Reno Show runs from Feb. 3 to 5 at the International Centre in Mississauga.
February 1, 2023
We quickly fell in love with the East Coast lifestyle.
February 1, 2023
IKEA and Sabine Marcelis have teamed up to unveil a new abstract decor collection inspired by the emotional connection of lights in our home.
January 31, 2023
From luxe living rooms to spa-like bathrooms, here are 10 affordable ways to create a staycation, inspired by Island of Bryan.
January 31, 2023
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
This content is restricted to adults of legal age.
Please enter your birthdate to confirm.
Date of Birth