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My wild journey from a home with no running water to owning the fastest growing Native-owned company in the country has taken a thrilling new twist, and it’s sure to expand the idea of what is possible for Native artists and entrepreneurs who - like myself just a few years ago – struggle to make a living from their art.
I am excited to announce that Eighth Generation has been purchased by the Snoqualmie Tribe.
The decision to sell was carefully considered over several years. While we have come very far without formal business training or even a business loan, it’s clear that Eighth Generation needs more than just hustle if it plans to realize my vision of becoming a worldwide success. In other words, we had to get some muscle behind the hustle!
I’m enthusiastically staying on as Eighth Generation’s CEO under a multiyear agreement. Together, united by the strength of our values and scope of our ambitions, the Eighth Generation team and the Snoqualmie Tribe will make this iconic Native American brand into an iconic American brand.
The Snoqualmie Tribe, based just a few miles outside of Seattle, is a perfect match for Eighth Generation because they share our passion for creating opportunities for Native artists, and intend to significantly amplify Eighth Generation’s work with both resources and strategic support. They have hit the ground running, as just last week, Snoqualmie Tribal leaders were advocating for Native artists with Congressional leaders in Washington, D.C.
Earlier this month, Snoqualmie’s values and culture-based decision-making was recently demonstrated on a national stage, when they bought back their sacred ancestral lands surrounding Snoqualmie Falls and immediately stopped plans to develop it.
I could not think of an outcome more aligned with Eighth Generation’s values – or more revolutionary - than hundreds of Snoqualmie indigenous people sharing ownership of the company.
Later today, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee will visit our flagship store at Pike Place Market to make a proclamation about supporting Native artists and Native-owned companies. This major milestone is a great example of how the Tribe’s support is already bolstering Eighth Generation’s work on behalf of Native artists.
John Pepion, an Inspired Native Project collaborator, said “This is epic because Eighth Generation will grow to reach everyone worldwide. I see a lot more projects in indigenous communities that will inspire a lot more entrepreneurs.”
As we enter into this groundbreaking new phase, I’m eager to see the little company that I started by drawing on shoes continue to shatter boundaries. One exciting next step will be our Urban Manufacturing Initiative: Native-made textiles produced right here in our Seattle warehouse!
On behalf of the Eighth Generation team and the Snoqualmie Tribe, I express sincere gratitude for your support, and I invite you to come along with us as we forge even deeper into uncharted territory – and pursue lasting change benefitting Native people. Just like the first 10 years, our future success will be everyone’s success.
I have to get back to work now… Black Friday Sale starts now!
Louie Gong (Nooksack)
Eighth Generation, Founder and CEO