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Eighth Generation, America’s fastest growing Tribally owned arts business, teamed up with Indigenous led NDN Collective to create a stunning new wool blanket that honors the power of women and the collective voice of Indigenous people.
NDN Collective is an organization that works to build Indigenous power and sustainable solutions on Indigenous issues through activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building and advocacy that is Indigenous led and reflects tribal values.
The artist behind the blanket, Votan Henriquez (Mayan and Nahua), is the founder of NSRGNTS and is best known for combining modern design with traditional influences to create large scale murals, street art and graphic design installations throughout the country.
It is no coincidence that the “Defend” Wool Blanket is launched on International Women’s Day. “The woman pictured represents the global shift of power towards the feminine,” Henriquez states. “The bullhorn is symbolic of amplifying Native voices and the winter count bounds Native people to ancient Indigenous traditions.”
When creating the design, Henriquez drew inspiration from the collective voice that emerged during the Standing Rock pipeline protest. As the camps dissolved and people carried the spirit of resistance back to their communities, Henriquez noticed that politicians amped up their disdain for justice by peaceful protest. That was when Henriquez and NDN Collective knew they needed to move forward with the design.
“The ‘Defend’ Blanket features an Indigenous matriarch at the center, raising her voice in a time when not only are Indigenous voices necessary, but women’s voices are critical,” says Sarah Sunshine Manning (Shoshone-Paiute), NDN Collective Director of Communications. “Women continue to be the backbone of our Nations, and today, are at the spear tip of intersecting movements for justice. We remain inspired by the many powerful Indigenous women at the center of our movement work and honor their inherent strength with this blanket.”
Nick Tilsen (Oglala Lakota), NDN Collective President and CEO, describes that the blanket represents lived realities of Indigenous people. “There are constant efforts to silence our voices as Indigenous people, whether it be the anti-protest laws, assault on free speech, the over-criminalization and incarceration of our people and our movement,” Tilsen says. “Yet we are rising up all around the Indigenous world, fighting to protect Mother Earth, to protect water and our balance with it. Indigenous women are leading Indigenous communities everywhere in these fights. This blanket mirrors that reality of the times we are living in today.”
When you wrap yourself in this blanket, Henriquez hopes you feel empowered! “Indigenous movements have risen up for centuries, defending our lands and rights,” Henriquez says. “It is now our moment in time to honor those who gave up so much so we could be here. It is our time to show up for those to come.”