This Earth Day, we're excited to connect with Angela De Montigny, founder of LODGE. This beautiful line of candles was created utilizing ancient plant knowledge and cultural wisdom in order to promote self-care, and in keeping with Angela's native heritage, blended with essential oils that have always been an important part of her ancestral and healing journey.
HH: As we celebrate Earth Day, we want to acknowledge the importance of considering sustainability and our environment every day. As an Indigenous woman and business owner, I know this is something you already do! Can you share with us how you approach the choices you make?
AD: Our Indigenous worldview understands that all things are connected and related - the wildlife, human beings, the natural world, the water, our Earth mother and even the cosmos - there is always cause and effect when one area becomes out of balance. If we continue to pollute our air and water, remove the trees that enable us to breathe and are home to billions of ecosystems, we will eventually cease to exist. This is why Indigenous peoples around the world have always practiced sustainability and respect for All Our Relations so that we can all coexist in accordance with our original instructions from our Creator. As an Indigenous woman and entrepreneur, it is a responsibility I carry to make sure that the products I create are sustainable, renewable, don't harm people or Mother Earth and provide benefits to those who use them whether they are Indigenous fashion items or Indigenous Wellness products. I want to make sure that I am being a good steward and ancestor so that the next 7 generations will be able to live healthy and abundant lives.
HH: You’ve had such a prolific fashion career, what inspired you to launch the candle line?
Thank you! I created the first scent - White Pine (The Tree of Peace) about 8 years ago for a lovely holiday gift - as a way to educate people about the culture/history of this important part of Hodenausaunee history and this powerful medicine tree and to bring the healing oils of the white pine into people’s homes; especially those who couldn’t have a live tree for the holidays. The collection grew from there in the same way.
HH: The Matriarch candle is quite special, what was the inspiration behind this particular blend?
Matriarch is truly a special candle and my inspiration was from my own Indigenous grandmothers and ancestors whose spirits have been with me very strongly. The last year has been one of much healing especially for Indigenous women and with the constant announcements of unmarked graves of children from Residential Schools all over the country being rediscovered, I wanted to not only honour their spirits but those of our strong women, past and present. I created a special blend of essential oils that helps people with their healing and grief while promoting self-love, opening hearts and raising vibrations. It brings me huge joy to know that my customers love this scent so much that it has become an important part of their lives. These are not just candles - they are Indigenous intelligence channelled from my ancestors.
HH: What does it mean to you to be a woman entrepreneur, a business owner and Indigenous community leader?
It means that I am walking and living by my spirit name: She Who Walks With Honour, and doing my best to honour my ancestors and working towards being a good ancestor myself. I have always felt a responsibility to inspire, mentor, advocate and help create opportunities for future Indigenous women entrepreneurs. As I have stated many times this year, “Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs are the antidote to capitalism.” We have always been entrepreneurs who not only provided for our families and communities, but have always operated as circular economies by virtue of practicing sustainability of All Our Relations (all living things and the natural world) and thinking of 7 Generations forward.
HH: Do you plan on expanding into more home-based products?
Yes! We recently launched our new Holistic Wellness Mists in Ceremony, Woodland Forest and Winter Solstice Maskwa which our customers are loving! These mists use the same essential oil blends as our soy candles and can travel with you anywhere - especially when you're in your car and need a protective and calming spritz when you're in rush hour traffic! We will be adding our much loved Power Smudge scent to our collection of Holistic Wellness Mists this month as well. We are also excited to be launching a brand new scent for the Summer Solstice on June 21st! As my foundation is in fashion design, I have always included home decor in my collections so there will be more new products coming as we’re able to expand.
HH: What is your personal favourite scent? What memory do you associate with it?
My favourite scent has always been Ceremony as it has a very personal meaning for me. I created it as a way to recreate the smell and feeling of being in ceremony at my traditional lodge, sitting in prayer beside a sacred fire. My most favourite place to be.
This very special and intentional scent embodies that experience of utter peace and calm, that transports you to a sacred place while practicing your own daily rituals or meditation practice. They are a blend of essential oils from our four most important Indigenous medicine plants: Cedar, Sage, Sweetgrass and Tobacco. This natural soy blend candle is truly holistic and provides benefits for your mind, body and spirit. I essentially made this candle for myself and I am so happy that people love it so much that I constantly sell out!!
HH: What are some of your go-to self-care habits and rituals?
I do my daily morning gratitude rituals where I smudge (with sage), light a candle and give thanks for the day and my loved ones, as well as regular New Moon and Full Moon ceremonies. I can’t stress enough how important these rituals are for your own mental health and self-care especially at a time when so many people are feeling anxious, stressed and afraid. Being truly conscious, grounded, calm and working towards your own inner peace is the ‘medicine’ we all need to have a healthy mind, body and spirit.
HH: What do you envision for Lodge in the next coming years?
I am envisioning a whole range of intentional products that provide healing benefits to people all over the world and I aim to continue educating people through these products about the inherent knowledge, beauty and history of Indigenous people across Turtle Island (North America). LODGE is committed to being an example of a true sustainable business that considers the health and well being of our customers, families, communities and Mother Earth.