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Going Beyond Tradition

Local Native American gallery offers handcrafted jewelry, art, décor and more

By Jillian Chandler

Photo by Owen Aird

The Native American culture is one to be celebrated, and right here in Sandpoint, the community and visitors alike are invited to step into The Blue Lizard Native American Gallery, where their cultural heritage shines through the exceptional art and jewelry on display.

When you step into The Blue Lizard Native American Gallery on Cedar Street, you will find a wide variety of both traditional and non-traditional hand-crafted pieces of Native American jewelry, art and artifacts. Owned by husband-and-wife Roger Disbrow and Shaun Mathis, they personally hand select all the pieces that are sold in the gallery, visiting the Navajo, Zuni and Pueblo reservations each year to find the best the Native American craftspeople have to offer.

“We work with many Native American artists throughout the United States and pride ourselves on offering high-quality merchandise with competitive prices,” affirms Shaun.

The gallery first opened in June 2007 in the Cedar Street Bridge. Two years later, Roger and Shaun would relocate the business to 1st Avenue. But after the building that housed The Blue Lizard was condemned by the City of Sandpoint in August of 2018, they were forced to close the following month. Thanks to the couple’s dedication and passion for sharing the Native American heritage and culture with the Sandpoint community, they reopened May of this year at 100 B Cedar Street.

The inspiration behind the gallery started many years ago in Michigan, when Roger’s aunt and uncle started selling Native American goods in the 1980s. Roger would work in the store after school and during the summers, learning the business from the ground up.

Today, Roger is a member in good standing with the Canadian Painted Feather Woodland Métis Tribe (whose people originated in the 1700s when French and Scottish fur traders married Aboriginal women, such as the Cree and Anishinaabe (Ojibwe)). “Their descendants formed a distinct culture, collective consciousness and nationhood in the Northwest,” according to Roger.

He and Shaun would meet later in life in Atlanta, Georgia, sharing with her his passion to the Native American culture and she her love of North Idaho. Born and raised in Hayden Lake, Shaun spent many summers on Lake Pend Oreille at the Sam Owens campground. “I brought him to the Sandpoint area when visiting family for the holidays, and he knew this would be a terrific place not only to retire but also become part of the community,” Shaun smiles.

Currently the pair work in Olympia, Washington, but have plans to relocate to Sandpoint once they retire from their “day jobs” in just a few years.

“We are very thankful to be in Sandpoint with such a supportive community,” says Shaun. “Additionally, we have been blessed with an amazing and knowledgeable gallery manager, Jackey Doty, who is the heart and soul of The Blue Lizard. And Teresa Waldon, our other staff member, is outstanding.”

When it comes to what Shaun and Roger find most rewarding about their business and the work they do, according to Roger, it is “working with the Native Americans to promote and preserve their cultural heritage and bringing their incredible works of art to the Sandpoint area.”

They invite you to stop by the gallery 10am to 6pm Monday through Saturday and 11am to 5pm Sunday.

The Blue Lizard Native American Gallery

100 B Cedar Street

Sandpoint, Idaho 83864


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