From time to time, we offer custom blankets on our website that were woven by Pendleton, but designed and commissioned by organizations or private individuals. The Chihuly series blankets are an excellent example of this. “Hear Me My Chiefs” is another example; a moving blanket designed by one of our former sales representatives, Terry Ball. Terry is spending his retirement in the place he loves, Montana.
Pendleton’s Chief Joseph blanket is a time-honored design that pays tribute to the great leader, but Terry had long dreamt of creating a more pictorial blanket that respectfully honored the history of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce tribe. The result was “Hear Me My Chiefs.”
Terry worked with members of the Nez Perce tribe to include meaningful symbols in this evocative blanket, which was woven in the USA by Pendleton Woolen Mills. You can read more about the deeply considered design here:
We love getting letters from our friends. Today’s is from Terry, who was an account manager for Pendleton for decades. Now retired, he’s living the good life in Montana. And that includes spending a lot of time in this gorgeous boat.
Here is Terry’s letter.
I was a Pendleton Salesman for 40 years. During that time I was always enamored with the Native American part of our company’s history, how in the late 1890s, Pendleton Woolen Mills started weaving those intricate patterns into blankets that became the impeccable standard for trade with Native Americans.
I met Greg Morley, who owns Morley Cedar Canoes at Swan Lake, Montana, in 1996 . He crafted a canoe for me at that time, and I have become very close friends with the family since. Greg Morley worked at the Forest Service out of Salem, Oregon, in the late 60s. Before leaving to build canoes in Swan Lake, Greg was designated to source the Oregon Trail. It took him two years, but he tracked and documented it. He brings that same precision to boat building.
Steve, Greg’s son, has carried on the trade, and built this Herreshoff Design row boat for me. He invited me up to pick out each individual cedar strip for the boat. I brought one of my Pendleton blankets along, and he inlaid the pattern right into the boat. It is a banded Robe from 1920s. You can find the blanket in The Language of the Robe by Robert W. Kapoun on page 53.
Here is a moody shot of the boat on gorgeous Swan Lake, the Gateway to Glacier National Park.
Twenty-three scholars at the White Clay Language Immersion School worked hard for their new school uniforms: coats made of Pendleton’s “Big Thunder” wool. Students and their parents fundraised with bake sales, raffles and silent auctions. They didn’t just buy the fabric; students actually helped design and sew the coats.
The White Clay Immersion school was founded in 2003 under the guidance and direction of Dr. Lynette Chandler. It’s located in the Aaniiih Nakoda (Fort Belknap) College Cultural Center in Harlem, Montana. The school’s mission is to revitalize the White Clay language.
Dr. Chandler is an enrolled member of the A´aninin tribe. She has helped raise the amount of White Clay speakers from only eight to several hundred, bringing the language back from the edge of extinction.
For the students, the advantages are more than cultural. Students who learn their daily lessons in White Clay test high on standardized tests, due to the demands of learning a complex language.
This year, Dr. Chandler was selected as the Indian Educator of the year by the Montana Indian Education Association. Her inspiring story can be read here in “Circle of Hope,” the bulletin of the American Indian College Fund.
The story is just as clearly read in the proud faces of her young scholars.