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The Evergreen Longhouse is a place where Indigenous artists, students, and community members from around the globe gather, teach and create beautiful artwork together.
Eighth Generation has a long history of collaborations and connections to the Longhouse and their community. In 2015, our founder Louie Gong (Nooksack) teamed up with the staff and Artists at the Longhouse to design the popular Thunderbird Arrives Wool Blanket, which was the first wool blanket designed and made by a Native owned company.
Now, a fresh wool blanket design titled Honoring Friendships celebrates the Longhouse's 25th anniversary! This wool blanket symbolizes the connections made over a quarter-century with Native peoples of this land and Indigenous people of the Pacific Rim.
The design weaves together artworks found around the Longhouse Indigenous Arts Campus and The Evergreen State College.
The center of the design features an albatross bird, also known as Toroa or the Guardian, which served as a nautical guide to Māori Ancestors. Moving toward the edges of the design, Salish fingers — a Salish weaving pattern — represent the Salish territory where the Longhouse is located.
The floral pattern illustrates renewal and growth and is found in beadwork designs from the Plateau and Great Lakes regions. You can see the florals incorporated on the Welcome Woman statue that stands at the front of Evergreen's campus in Olympia, WA.
On the border of the Honoring Friendships Wool Blanket, the X design represents the stitches found in both Northwest and South Pacific basket designs — see the example below.
"Collaborating with Eighth Generation has always been a meaningful experience for the Evergreen Longhouse," says Laura VerMeulen, the managing director for the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center. "As an organization that promotes and supports Indigenous arts and cultures, we are proud of Eighth Generation and its accomplishments. While the blanket honors the friendships made by the Longhouse across the continent and the Pacific, it also honors our friendship with Louie Gong and the Eighth Generation team. Gunalchéesh, Kia ora, Nia:weh, Miigwech, Tlazocamati, Ahéhee,’ Hy’shqe!"
Share the Honoring Friendships Wool Blanket with a friend in the comments!