About Us



About Us but in 5 Words or Less

We sell beads and stuff.


In Case You Would Like to Learn a Little More About Us...

Bead & Powwow Supply is a small, Indigenous owned business focused on promoting and encouraging Indigenous arts, crafts, and fashion. Bead & Powwow Supply was founded in 2011 by Indigenous artist A. Ellie Mitchell (Saginaw Ojibwe; Eagle Clan). After its founding, Bead & Powwow Supply could be found on the powwow trail or customers could shop from the comfort of their own home at Then, in 2023, the Bead & Powwow Supply team achieved the dream of opening a brick and mortar store. Now, Bead & Powwow Supply customers can visit and shop in person at the in-store location in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Bead & Powwow Supply team has been able to expand their inventory on the store-floor to include beads in a vast array of cuts and colors, apparel from various Indigenous owned clothing brands, Native Print fabric, banding, ribbon, art supplies, craft supplies, sewing supplies, and much, much more.

In Case You Would Like to Learn Even More About Us, Feel Free to Visit our Rez.

About the Owner

Ellie Mitchell is Eagle Clan, Anishinaabe, and is enrolled with the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. One of Ellie’s earliest memories is of accompanying her mother to a powwow in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where her mom sold beaded earrings and dreamcatchers. As a child, Ellie loved beads, dancing, history, and Anishinaabemowin (Anishinaabe language), passions which were encouraged at the Saginaw Chippewa Academy, where Ellie attended from kindergarten through 8th Grade. Following high school, she matriculated at Michigan State University, in order to study Anishinaabemowin under Helen (Roy) Fusht, who had previously been the Anishinaabemowin teacher at the Saginaw Chippewa Academy. While at MSU, Ellie was awarded a Morris K Udall Scholarship in recognition of her work on tribal policy related to Anishinaabemowin revitalization. She majored in linguistics with a specialization in American Indian Studies and graduated in 2010, with high honor and an endorsement from the MSU Honors College.

Following graduation, Ellie lived briefly in the territory of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, before she moved home to the Isabella Indian Reservation to start Bead & Powwow Supply. For several years, Ellie’s main focus was growing her business while remaining connected to her community. In 2013, she was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinaabe Culture & Lifeways. She served in that capacity for over eight years, including four years as chairperson, until January 2022.

In 2015, Ellie was revisited by her childhood dream to become a writer. She began experimenting with fiction writing, focusing on fantastical retellings of Anishinaabe history and stories. By developing fictional characters, Ellie began to reflect on toxic and abusive experiences from her own life. In summer 2016, she formally found out her Anishinaabe clan, began traveling to powwows independently, and in July, joined other Jingle Dancers in a healing ceremony at the Saginaw Chippewa Powwow. That dance was officially held, in part, for her maternal grandfather, Phil Peters Sr.-ba, but the experience had a profound impact on Ellie. Following powwow, she found the strength to end an abusive marriage. Later, she joined members of her community who visited the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

In 2017, Ellie celebrated her divorce by starting graduate studies at Central Michigan University. During that first semester, she could be seen at powwows and round dances around Michigan, reading academic articles between songs. Her graduate studies focused on Anishinaabe history, Great Lakes archaeology, literature, and creative writing. Ellie graduated with a Master of Arts in humanities in May of 2020. Unable to host a celebratory feast due to COVID precautions, she commemorated the achievement by doing a widescale sticker giveaway in summer of 2021.

Ellie believes that Indigenous entrepreneurship is part of a healthier future for Indian Country. Tribal member owned small businesses can adapt quickly and fill needs that tribal governments and their enterprises cannot, as tribes are often hampered by federal regulations and intracommunity politics. Ellie is dedicated to increasing the accessibility and approachability of cultural and language resources within Indigenous communities, including those community members who choose (or are forced by settler-colonialism) to reside outside their tribe’s geographical base. She believes that all tribal members have a duty to assert tribal sovereignty and is proud to hold business licenses from several tribes she’s visited. Ellie occasionally shuts down Bead & Powwow Supply to enable her to attend community events and political protests.

In addition to running her business, Ellie works as an academic specialist at Michigan State University. There, she does outreach to tribal communities regarding Anishinaabemowin and Indigenous student retention and recruitment. Ellie co-authored the Reciprocal Research Guide, a publication of MSU’s Native American Institute, which addresses how academic researchers can form healthy collaborations with tribes. She writes about Anishinaabe-aadiziwin (Anishinaabe life), business, and fashion in Indian Country at the Bead & Powwow Supply Blog. Her writing has appeared in Indian Country Today, Yellow Medicine Review, and the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Observer. Ellie is currently working on some new fiction and resources for Indigenous artists.

While running a bead store can make her a little tired of beads, Ellie does bead occasionally and is particularly fond of 11/0 2-cuts Opaque Luster Lime. She previously was an ardent user of sharps needles but beading needles are beginning to appeal to her. Ellie loves resisting settler-colonialism, fighting the patriarchy, cooking, eating fancy chocolates, talking about her pets, and staring off into space. She is a Jingle Dress Dancer and a Northern Women’s Traditional Dancer.