Mohawk Artist Tonya Maracle, is a registered Band member with the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in Ontario, Canada. She has lived on the Territory her entire life, and has operated her arts and crafts business, Soaring Eagle, for the past 24 years there.
Tonya grew up (literally!) in her family’s business, Native Renaissance II, a wholesale/retail native craft business run by her parents for the past 40 years. She learned the traditional method of making native crafts from her grandfather and father at a very young age. They also taught her the Mohawk language and instilled in her a sense of pride in her native heritage and culture.
Tonya comes from a long line of talented, creative family members, including several well-known artists, musicians and craftsmen. Surrounded by such an atmosphere, she fell into her life’s work quite naturally. After working for her parents for several years making traditional native crafts, and in many other facets of their company, she decided to spread her wings and create her own company. In 1995 she founded Soaring Eagle Native Arts & Crafts. Tonya thoroughly enjoys every aspect of operations, but states her favourite department is Product Development and Design. Every product carried by Soaring Eagle is originally designed by Tonya, and is handcrafted on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. She is proud to say all her company’s products are meticulously handcrafted using all natural materials, such as genuine deerskin, cowhide, horsehair, pheasant feathers, deer antler, semi-precious stones, and high quality beads such as glass and ceramic. Soaring Eagle’s continuously expanding product line is distributed to gift stores throughout Canada, and into the U.S., Germany, England, Japan, Switzerland and South America.
Tonya plans to continue operating Soaring Eagle and producing beautiful hand-made native crafts. She hopes to one day pass on all she has learned to her own children, nieces and nephews. For now, she continues to do what she does best, educating others about her native heritage through her arts and crafts.