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Posts tagged ‘American Indian College Fund’

Pendleton and the AICF: Blankets with a Cause

bannerAICFPendleton has been supporting the goals of the American Indian College Fund for years. To understand why this makes us so proud, please watch this video.

If this is a cause you can get behind, you might want to consider our AICF blankets for 2015 as a way to contribute. Both blankets were designed by Larry Ahvakana, an Inupiaq/Eskimo from Barrow and Point Hope, Alaska.


Born in Fairbanks, Larry was raised in Point Barrow until the age of six, when his family moved to Anchorage. He left behind his grandparents, his native tongue, and many of the traditional cultural influences that had shaped his childhood. But these have re-emerged through his art, becoming the basis for his inspired work.

Larry has been a working artist since 1972. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He also studied at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York. He works in a variety of media, including stone, glass, bone, metal and wood. His masks bring tradition to life with mythic imagery in old-growth wood.

image courtesy of the Blart Museum

Larry is also widely recognized as an educator. He has instructed at the Institute of American Indian Art. He headed the Sculpture Studio at the Visual Arts Center in Anchorage, Alaska, and founded a teaching studio for glass blowing in Barrow, Alaska. His works are included in a large number of major museums, corporate collections, private art collections and as public art commissions.

Thunderbird and Whale Crib Blanket

The image on this baby blanket is inspired by the artwork of Larry Ahvakana and the Iñupiat legend of the Great Spirit Eagle. Legend states that there once was a massive thunderbird so large and powerful that it could hunt and carry a whale—the main source of sustenance for the Iñupiat. To honor the whale, the Iñupiat created the Messenger Feast. The ceremonial dancing and feasting prepares the community for the coming year and ensures the success of future generations. This blanket is a collaboration between Pendleton Woolen Mills and the American Indian College Fund to honor and reawaken a vital part of Native history. A portion of the proceeds will help provide scholarships for students attending tribal colleges.This blanket is a collaboration between Pendleton Woolen Mills and the American Indian College Fund.


The Return of the Sun Blanket

The traditions and activities of the Iñupiat, today, as in the past, revolve around the changing of the seasons. This blanket, inspired by the artwork of Larry Ahvakana, celebrates the arrival of the sun back to the Arctic and the start of hunting season. The Iñupiat mark this special time with the Messenger Feast—a ceremony where the spirits of the past season’s harvest are ushered back into the spirit world. Today, the celebration fosters cultural pride and the regeneration of traditional values. This blanket is a collaboration between Pendleton Woolen Mills and the American Indian College Fund to honor and reawaken a vital part of Native history.

You can see all our AICF blankets here: American Indian College Fund Blankets


Macklemore: a Northwest Artist with Pendleton Wool

Macklemore is originally from Seattle, WA. Maybe that’s why his videos use Pendleton wool  letting us act as a signifier for the west and the wilderness.  We’re glad he hasn’t forgotten his Pacific Northwest roots.



The train seats are upholstered with our Canyonlands fabric, and bring to mind the Portland Express run by AMTRAK last year. The blanket on the camel (okay, so maybe we don’t get that one, either) is one that benefits the American Indian College Fund called the Earth blanket. These are both great songs, but we’re still partial to his first big hit, which also celebrates a Portland passion; going to the thrift store. We don’t have anything in this one, but hey, don’t you love finding Pendleton when you’re thrifting?


Three Corn Maidens


The Three Corn Maidens blanket is part of our series for the American Indian College Fund. The Three Corn Maidens design tells the story of the Pueblo people’s belief that just as the sun gives life to the corn, the Corn Maidens bring the power of life to the people. The blanket was designed by Isleta Pueblo artist Mary Beth Jiron as a celebration of her acceptance into the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Jiron attributes the concept to visions she had and the desire to tell a story from her own culture in which corn is the staff of life and often the center of ceremony. Three Corn Maidens is the second design in the American Indian College Fund’s series of student-designed blankets. The Three Corn Maidens design won first place in the student blanket contest.

If you’d like to support that AICF through a blanket, you can see all the designs here. Since 1995, Pendleton Woolen Mill’s support of the American Indian College Fund (the Fund) has helped more than 400 students pursue their dreams of obtaining a college degree through the Pendleton Woolen Mills Tribal College Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to American Indian students attending tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) in Washington and Montana, and the Pendleton Endowment Tribal Scholars Program, which provides scholarships in perpetuity to Native students attending TCUs throughout the United States.

“We are always inspired by the individual stories of struggle and triumph of the students who receive the scholarships,” said Robert Christnacht, Pendleton Home Division Manager. “Pendleton is honored to be able to contribute to the long-term growth of the tribal college system through the American Indian College Fund.”


Six You Don’t Want to Miss

Here’s a list of six special Pendleton blankets that are retiring soon.

1. New Mexico Centennial

New Mexico Centennial

The New Mexico Centennial blanket is designed around the red Zia sun symbol, in which the Circle of Life binds together elements: four winds, four seasons, four directions and four sacred obligations. The blanket has a clean, graphic beauty. This is a limited edition, with very limited availability from Pendleton the Courtyard, located at 1100 San Mateo NE, Albuquerque, NM.  505.232.0088.

2. Keep My Fires Burning


Keep My Fires Burning pays tribute to Native American storytellers, who fill an important cultural role in each tribe by passing on traditions of healing, song, ceremony, dance and most importantly, creation. Storytellers interpret tales taught to them by their elders, and adding their own experiences to create sacred and living narratives that span generations.

3. AICF 20th Anniversary by Maria MartinezMaria Martinez for AICF 20th Anniversary

This blanket, based on the work of the late ceramic artist Maria Martinez , pays tribute to her artistry with Pueblo Indian Pottery. Her black-on-black pottery reached new heights in artistic expression, skill and technique. This blanket honors the 20th Anniversary of the American Indian College Fund, and reminds us that we can only reach new heights together.

4. Sunrise Song HeritageSunrise Song

Sunrise Song uses the brilliant colors of daybreak to represent the Sunrise Ceremony that is common to many Native American tribes. The people gather, wrapped in blankets and facing the East, to greet the Morning Star with dance, prayer and song. Together, they give thanks for another day of life.

5. Sugpiaq Umaq

Sugpiaq Imaq

Sugpiaq Umaq, with a design based on ancestral art created by Kodiak craftsman and artist Jerry Laktonen, celebrates a rebirth of the Alutiiq people culture of Native Alaskans indigenous to Kodiak Island and parts of the mainland. Sugpiaq means “the real people,” and Imaq means “ocean.” The bold rising sun mask represents the Alutiq cultural resurgence and Alaska’s midnight sun. Sea life swims around the sun, while Alutiiq kayaks travel across the top and bottom of blanket.

6. Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe portrays the radiance and beauty of Mexico’s popular religious and cultural image. Since 1531, Our Lady’s icon has resided in the Basilica of Guadalupe, extending her promise of love, compassion and protection to all.

If you need help with tracking down any retired blanket, please call our Pendleton Home Store at 503.535.5444. Our expert associates can often help you when all else has failed!


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