An untold number of Native and Indigenous children were stolen from us, sent to hundreds of boarding schools throughout the US and Canada in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Many of these children never returned home. Our Remembering the Children Wool Blanket (Wakȟáŋyeža Wičhákiksuyapi) honors their experiences and memories: we do not forget you.
This authentic Native wool blanket is designed by Travis Harden (Oohenumpa Lakota and Winnebago Ho Chunk) in collaboration with the volunteers, family members, descendants, matriarchs, and elders of the Rapid City Indian Boarding School Project in South Dakota. It reflects the project’s commitment to the Native community’s children past and present, and to honoring the healing, strength, resiliency, hopes, and dreams of future generations impacted by the residential school system.
Rich with symbolism, this wool blanket features several notable design elements, including:
A central cradleboard. Children are our center, and the placement of this board represents their sacredness. Just as a cradleboard protects and carries children, this blanket carries our call to protect our children as we carry them forward into a better future. The cradleboard seen on this wool blanket is a representation of a historic cradleboard that was repatriated by Madonna Thunder Hawk during the Wounded Knee occupation in 1973. Since then, the cradleboard has been passed down through generations of their family and is used to carry and protect their children to this day.
Eight Lakota toy horses. A popular toy before and during the era of boarding schools, these eight toy horses reflect our hope for the seven generations after us, and the responsibility we as descendants have.
Sacred colors. The central stripe of white and yellow represents the light and hope we carry for all our children and future generations. In the Lakota language, children are known as Wakȟáŋyeža, which translates to “Sacred Beings.” The four main colors of the blanket—black, red, yellow, and white—represent the sacred four direction colors for the Lakota people. Black (Sápa) is the color of the west, and of the Wakinyan (Thunder Beings). Red (Šá) is the color of the north and the northern winds, and represents perseverance and endurance over hardships. Yellow (Zí) is the color of the east and of the morning sun rising, signifying renewal and hope. White (Ská) is the color of the south and of the sun at its highest peak, representing our own growth and intellect.
This authentic, Native-designed wool blanket is both a reminder of the past and a hopeful prayer for the future. 100% of proceeds of this blanket support theRapid City Children's Memorial.
Photographed by Lonnie Jeffries (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe); modeled by Bella Ganje (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe)
A blog about the collaboration can be read here. Visit the Rapid City Children's Memorial page here to learn more about the memorial, the boarding school, the graves, and to donate directly.
Covers top of queen size bed (59 in x 78 in/ 200 cm x 150 cm)
Colors include black, red, yellow, and white
Suede edge band
100% wool pile; 100% polyester warp
Dry clean only
Thank you for supporting Inspired Natives®, not "Native-inspired."
Recommended care is dry clean only; however, you can rinse your blanket on a gentle, cold setting and hang dry away from direct sunlight
Clean liquid stains immediately with warm water and mild detergent