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Another great year at Eighth Generation is in the books, and we are excited to share some highlights with you. In business, you are always looking to the future, but we can't pass up the opportunity to celebrate all the momentous things that happened in 2022.
Colleen Echohawk (Pawnee, Athabascan) and Louie Gong (Nooksack) in 2015
We began 2022 with a big change in leadership. After 15 years of pouring his passion into Eighth Generation, founder Louie Gong (Nooksack) retired from his leadership role at the end of 2021, paving the way for Colleen Echohawk (Pawnee, Athabascan) to take up the role of CEO in February. Colleen’s commitment to service aligns perfectly with Eighth Generation’s own values, making her the perfect person for Louie to pass the baton to. Under Colleen’s leadership, Eighth Generation had a great year, with a number of fun and educational events, as well as new products to celebrate.
Giani (Tulalip), Robert, and Francesca (Karuk) model our new Gold Label scarf designs
This year we expanded our collection of wool textiles that are all knitted right here in our Seattle studio by adding new blankets and scarves to our Gold Label Collection. These wool textiles help reclaim the market for Native-produced wool textiles, and we are so proud of the work we have done and continue to do in decolonizing homes, one blanket at a time.
Three of our Inspired Natives® Artists—Jared Yazzie (Diné), John Isaiah Pepion (Piikani/Blackfeet) and Sarah Agaton Howes (Anishinaabe/Ojibwe)—designed new, extra-wide and ultra-luxurious wool scarves for our Gold Label Collection. Made of super-soft 100% Merino wool, each scarf comes in two colorways—and is the perfect accessory to any cold-weather outfit.
Two gorgeous jingle dress dancers hold up a Good Life Blanket by Sarah Agaton Howes (Anishinaabe-Ojibwe)
"The Good Life" is a phrase near and dear to the hearts of many Native people, but perhaps especially for Anishinaabe people. “For the Anishinaabe people, when we signed our treaty in 1854, the language specifically says that we reserve our right to our good life,” says Inspired Natives Artist and Anishinaabe designer Sarah Agaton Howes. “That means we kept our right to food sovereignty. We kept our water rights. We kept the fundamental right to go out on the land, to feed our families with the bounty Mother Earth shares with her children. We kept the right to use our canoes, to be surrounded by wild rice, to celebrate the water, and protect our place in this beautiful gift that is the world.”
Her Good Life Blanket, designed exclusively for our Gold Label Collection, shares many images from Sarah's own good life, and is a beautiful work of art and storytelling rich with meaning.
Snoqualmie Tribe Member Bethany Fackrell, US F-18 engine mechanic, models the Warrior Wool Blanket by Dante Biss-Grayson (Osage)
We ended 2021 by announcing the winner of our Warrior Wool Blanket Design Contest, and we were able to launch our Warrior Wool Blanket for Veteran's Day 2022! Designed by veteran and Osage artist and activist Dante Biss-Grayson, our Warrior Wool Blanket is a truly special blanket honoring the courage and dedication of warriors of all stripes.
We also released our Legacy Wool Blanket by the winner of our Wool Blanket Design Contest, People's Choice Category, Johnnie Jae (Otoe-Missouria and Choctaw). “I was very much inspired by the enduring legacies of tradition, fortitude, hope, and love that have been passed down from not only my family, but all of our communities and nations,” shares Johnnie.
Other wool blanket designs this year included Walk in Beauty Wool Blanket by artist Ahsaki LaFrance-Chachere (Diné/Navajo); Remembering the Children Wool Blanket—a tribute to the children lost to Native boarding schools in the 18- and 1900s by the Rapid City Indian Boarding Schools Project and the Remembering the Children Project; and the Medicine Circle Wool Blanket designed by Louie Gong to celebrate Seattle Indian Health Board's decades of service and health of Native people.
Maple Sugar Candle by Sarah Agaton Howes (Anishinaabe-Ojibwe)
Expanding our soap line for Christmas was easy (and a hit: our new Winter Berry Soap sold out within just a few days). It took a little more work from Colleen and Sarah to design our Maple Sugar Candle and Rose Hips Candle and Rose Hips Bath Fizzies, but they were equally popular!
We also worked with MaCher, a a Certified B Corp specializing in sustainable, responsible manufacturing and product creation to create hip bags (aka fanny packs). Each bag diverts plastic water bottles from landfills and plants trees—meaning you look good while doing good for the planet when you wear one of our hip bags designed by Sarah or Michelle Lowden (Acoma Pueblo).
Balance Hip Bag designed by Michelle Lowden (Acoma Pueblo)
Other new products we released in 2022 included three gorgeous, large-format additions to our Fine Art Prints. A design by John joined two new reprints of designs by Louie to really round out our selection of fine art prints for your home or office. Our mug game leveled up with a new design by Sarah, as well as our Northwest Coast Demi Mug Set by David Robert Boxley (Tsimshian) just in time for holiday gifting.
Colleen holds a wreath at our store in Pike Place Market
We had the chance to connect with our local community through a number of events at our flagship store in Pike Place Market this year. In April we hosted a “Land Back “ event featuring veteran and artist Bethany Fackrell (Snoqualmie) to spread awareness of the Snoqualmie Tribe Ancestral Lands Movement and help bring back indigenous wisdom and sustainability practices to land stewardship and environmentalism. In October, we hosted Red Eagle Soaring, a Native youth theatre company, for a rendition of their original play Dracula Spectacular. For Christmas, we decorated the store and had a special day with cookies and cocoas for all our in store guests.
2022 gave us great opportunities to connect and educate about the differences between appreciation and appropriation, about the importance of supporting authentic Native artists above fake "Native-inspired" products, and the ways in which Eighth Generation is working to live our values of sustainability and ethics even while we move in a capitalistic market space.
As we move into 2023, we hope to continue the good things we started in 2022 with more chances to connect with our community, near and far, expand our product offerings for conscientious consumers looking to shop more ethically, and of course further our mission of building business capacity among cultural artists while addressing the economic impact of cultural appropriation.
Whether you made a purchase from us in 2022, or simply learned something by following along on the blog and furthering your education of Native issues, we are glad you are here! We hope you’ll join us again in 2023.(2022 sparkler image by Kenta Kikuchi on Unsplash)