Nine year old Haleakala Brown wanted to save up money to take gymnastics lessons. Instead of walking dogs or having a lemonade stand she started Colorado’s first Native American soap business. Traditions come from Haleakala’s roots as Taos Pueblan and Native Hawaiian.
Haleakala’s father, Nick Ohitika Najin, said, “we started making soaps, my wife (Akalei Brown) and my daughter made soaps. The first hundred batch sold immediately. Wow! The next hundred batch sold immediately also. So, my wife and I were kind of like, hey, maybe we have something here. We turned all that money and just kind of flipped it and we kind of grew from there.”
On July 1st, 2021, Lakota Body Care was founded, focusing on products made with traditional native ingredients sourced from relatives all over the country. Not many can say they work for their 10-year-old daughter, but six months later Halekala’s father quit his job, and start working full time for Lakota Body Care.
“We’re trying to introduce to our community that you can take care of your skin, your body, just with organic materials, instead of buying products that are made with tons of chemicals.”
Lakota Body Care has grown from just soaps to other products including teas, oils, and bath salts. They are also made with prayers of the Indigenous people.
“When we make these soaps and these oils, and these bath salts and all our other products, we say the same prayers that we’re using to make moccasins, we’re doing the same to make soap. So, every single step where we’re thinking about something we’re praying about something so that’s where it comes in,” Nick said.
One their most popular items is their Pow Wow Dreams Tea that uses Ingredients such as peppermint and chamomile and aids in relaxation. The Skoden Lakota Tea is made with elderberries and is one of their most traditional and sacred products. Elderberries boosts the immune system. Their Lavender Sage soap uses white sage from California. That mixed with lavender gives it a wonderful smell.
Today Haleakala’s Lakota Body Care is growing, and she is able to take three gymnastic classes a week. She helps her dad make soaps for half an hour a day and comes up with ideas and names for new products. You’ll find Lakota Body Care at local farmers markets and pow wows where the family performs in traditional regalia. You can also order from Lakota Body Care’s website.