Native Language Revitalization with our Abundance Collection and More

You know Eighth Generation as the Native-owned business who infused the market for authentic Native designs on wool blankets in 2015 when we became the first Native-owned business to produce real Native-designed wool blankets for mass market.

You also know Eighth Generation as the Native-owned business who took back production of Native-designed wool textiles with the launch of our Gold Label Collection in 2020, where we began producing our Native-designed wool blankets and scarves right here in our Seattle studio. 

Now Eighth Generation is helping to bring Native language to the forefront of the global marketplace with our newest line of products featuring Native languages including Lushootseed and Anishinaabemowin. Lushootseed is the traditional language of the Snoqualmie Tribe as well as other Pacific Northwest peoples, and is a prominent part of our new Abundance Collection. 


Lushootseed Language and the Snoqualmie Tribe

“It is incredibly important to us to include Lushootseed on our newest products and as part of our new Abundance Collection” shares Eighth Generation's CEO Colleen Echohawk (Pawnee, Athabascan) . “Lushootseed is one of the languages of the original people in the Pacific Northwest, and we honor all the Salish, Puget Sound Salish, and Coast Salish people—especially the Snoqualmie Tribe which owns Eighth Generation—who have been stewards of the land Seattle is on since time immemorial. By including Lushootseed on our products, Eighth Generation is taking part in the Native language resurgence we are seeing across Indian Country that is helping to keep Native culture thriving.” 

The Abundance Collection, which includes our Abundance Gold Label Wool Blanket, Abundance Tote, and Abundance Greeting Card Pack, share the Lushootseed word haʔł ʔəshəliʔ which means ‘good health,’


Native Language Renaissance

According to current research, of the approximately 300 languages that were originally spoken by North America’s Indigenous peoples, only 50% have living speakers today: at least 50 Native American languages have fewer than 10 speakers. Worldwide, it is expected that 50–90% of the 7,000 global languages spoken will be extinct by the end of the century. [1]

However, many Native Americans and tribes are working to create a Native language renaissance, teaching classes, connecting Native language speakers with students, and bringing Native language to the forefront of a global conversation about heritage, identity, and culture. 

“As a Lushootseed language speaker, I’m called to teach others our language,” said Snoqualmie Tribal member Angela Wymer, who consulted with Eighth Generation on Lushootseed translations for products and packaging. “Lushootseed has been spoken by the Indigenous people who have lived in and around the Seattle area since time immemorial, and I work with Eighth Generation to include Lushootseed translations on their items. For the Abundance Collection, we used the Lushootseed word haʔł ʔəshəliʔ, which means ‘good health,’ on a tote bag and greeting cards. I feel that enjoying your joy is proof of good health, and I’m proud that positive message is being shared on such special products.”

A lit candle in a brown glass jar sits on an antique bookOur Cedar Tobacco Candle includes  x̌payʔ and sbadeš, which are the Lushootseed words for cedar and tobacco and translated by Angela


“I think the land remembers language,” says Echohawk. “One of the languages that this land around Seattle has heard for millennia is Lushootseed. When you use our Abundance Tote here in Seattle, send an Abundance Greeting Card, or just open one of our new packages,  you're bringing traditional Native language back into a space that probably hasn't experienced that language in over a century. That's an incredibly powerful part of decolonizing your space and community." 

Lushootseed translations of product names can also be found on Eighth Generation’s Rose Hip Candle, Cedar Tobacco Candle, and Rose Hip Bath Fizzies. The Anishinaabemowin language appears on the Maple Sugar Candle, designed by Anishinaabe/Ojibwe artist Sarah Agaton Howes. 

A woman's hand lights a candle in a brown glass candle holder in the background, while in the foreground another black candle and white bath fizzies sitOur Maple Sugar Candle by Sarah Agaton Howes says Ziinzibaakwaad, which is Anishinaabemowin “maple sugar”  


The Next Generation of Native Speakers

"It was only four generations ago that my family exclusively spoke Anishinaabemowin," shares Eighth Generation's Senior Project Manager, Lacee Shephard (Odawa). "But after decades of colonization and the horrors of residential school, our language was ripped away generation by generation. Today I am studying Anishinaabemowin as a college course and it’s impossible to express the gratitude I have for this opportunity. Being able to actively learn this language in a school setting is such a testament to the resilience of every Native person who carried this knowledge and kept a huge piece of our culture alive."

Eighth Generation is incredibly proud and humbled by the work of Indian Country's Native language speakers. They are doing the hard but rewarding work of making sure our Native languages are passed down for generations to come. “Some [of the students I’ve taught Lushootseed] end up teaching others what they have learned," says Angela, "and there is such honor in that.”