June 21, 2018
Eighth Generation is honored to introduce Ryan Young (Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa) as the artist for our upcoming “Two Spirit” blanket! We began the blanket development process with the goal of re-affirming reverence for Two Spirit people through the general symbolism of an honor blanket and the artwork on it, and are very excited to be working with a Two Spirit artist who centers Two Spirit representation and empowerment in their artwork and beyond.
A senior at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Ryan specializes in photography and printmaking, aiming "to bring visibility and voice to queer indigenous and two spirit folks" through photo projects like their Two Spirit Project. Their piece, "Who Do You Dance For?", is a jingle dress they created from images from this project, as well as photos of other recognized Two Spirit figures. Described as a "healing regalia", the piece is dedicated to Two Spirit and queer indigenous people who have been excluded from powwow dance circles, while making a statement about homophobia and transphobia stemming from colonization, not cultural values.
"Who Do You Dance For?" by Ryan Young (Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa)
Outside of their art, Two Spirit empowerment is just as central. They are the President and co-founder of their school's LGBTQ2S student organization, Indigenous Queers +, where they have put on workshops on Two Spirit history, terminology and inclusivity, sexual health, and decolonizing gender in the powwow circle, as well as events like IAIA Pride Week. This summer they will be serving as the coordinator for Two Spirit and Indigenous Programming at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, as well as preparing for their senior art exhibition that will take place this fall. After the completion of their Bachelors of Fine Arts, they plan on continuing to build their photography career as a platform for Two Spirit recognition and empowerment.
"My Gender is Indigenous" by Ryan Young (Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa)
Louie Gong, founder of Eighth Generation, says, "Ryan's work really embodies what Eighth Generation stands for. In addition to making cool art, they're working hard to make the world a better place for their communities. Not all people with strong feelings are willing to do that extra work - Ryan does it, and Eighth Generation is willing to do that too."
After several rounds of community feedback throughout the blanket development process, including the formation of a Two Spirit advisory committee here in Seattle, the blanket is due for release in Fall 2018. We are proud to say this blanket project will be the first ever production blanket honoring Two Spirit people.
October 24, 2018
Wow! Wish I could be at this event! Looking forward to the “unveiling” and the chance to support. Congrats, Ryan (Ojibwes Rock! 😉)!!
Louie: Migwitch for taking on this important work and demonstrating leadership and compassion and inclusion! 😍
October 25, 2018
October 02, 2018
Ayyyy my heart sings knowing this is going to be a thing and it’s beautiful to learn and explore some of your work before it’s living in the blanket. Looking forward to getting some for our Lgbtq center. To indigenize is to queer a space eh? Luck and congrats on earning more room for your work.
June 27, 2018
We are very excited to see this work
I am graduating in 6 weeks from the Cal State U, San Marcos School of Nursing, I identify as 2S and am hoping to be wrapped in this honorary blanket at my ceremony!
Congratulations Ryan Young for being chosen to do this very important work for the Two Spirit, & allies, community. I look forward to seeing your design ideas for the blanket.
Love it!! Great work. I will keep my eye out for Fall debut.
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January 15, 2020
Oprah Winfrey stopped by St. Paul, Minnesota, for her “2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus” tour. Winfrey is joining local workout groups at each stop as part of her tour, and her latest stop was with the KwePack, an incredible running group of Native American women based on the Fond du Lac Reservation near Duluth, which was started by Inspired Natives Collaborator Sarah Agaton Howes (Anishinaabe). Watch as Sarah made her wildest dreams come true by wrapping Oprah in an Eighth Generation blanket that she designed!
December 31, 2019
November 26, 2019
Eighth Generation by Louie Gong