Since 1995 Pendleton has sponsored scholarships to attend tribal colleges in Washington and Montana. The Pendleton Endowment Tribal Scholars has also been founded and funded by Pendleton Woolen Mills to provide scholarships in perpetuity for Native students attending college throughout the United States. The Pendleton American Indian College Fund line of blankets was offered to help fund these endeavors.
Today the Pendleton AICF line incorporates 12 blankets with a part of each sale going to fund scholarships and other needs of Native American students. Below you will find a little information about the most popular of these blankets.
The Water Blanket is loosely based upon a photograph taken by the famous western photographer Edward Curtis. The saw tooth design elements come from the eye dazzler weavings of the Navajos and they have incorporated the dragon fly which is a symbol of water. People of the southwest have a very deep connection to water as it can be difficult to find.
The Hidatsa Earth blanket also is loosely based upon a photograph taken by Edward Curtis. The blanket contains four crosses which represent the four cardinal directions present in the folklore of many Native Americans. Geometric elements represent the earth, sky and mountains while other geometric elements represent wheat, grass and seeds.
The Nike N7 blanket was the inspiration of Nike designer Derrick Roberts. Starting with design elements in Native clothing he first started at the corners of the blanket and worked inward. In the middle you will find three sets of arrows. The first set points to the left representing those that came before us, the next points to the right representing future generations and finally the middle set which points up and represents the current generation. Done in monochromatic black and white the reverse side is an exact negative of the front.
The Pendleton Ribbon Dance blanket celebrates the opening ritual of the Seminole tribe’s Green Corn Festival. The women of the tribe dance around the sacred fire while clad in patchwork clothing and swinging ribbons in an effort to assure the sacred fire will burn into the coming year. This ritual is known as the Ribbon Dance.