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The legendary blankets




The role of blankets is woven deep in the history of Native Americans. For centuries, they have been used for warmth and comfort, as a medium of exchange, for artistic expression and as an important part of ceremonies and tribal councils. The collectible Legendary Series honors this culture's special symbols, traditions and beliefs. Originally, Native Americans brought us their own designs, depicting their beliefs and legends. Today, we work closely with Native Americans to create high-quality blankets in vivid new designs. Each blanket is a lasting symbol of the mutual respect between Pendleton and our loyal first customers.

Today, legends live on as special gifts, astounding wall art or warm companions draped on a sofa or at the foot of a bed. However they are used,Pendleton's Legendary Blankets will be admired and treasured for their intricate, intriguing patterns and excellent quality. These original, exclusive designs were inspired by Native American art, legends, ceremonies and heroes. They are collectible heirlooms of tomorrow that can be used and enjoyed today.

Each year, we present a new commemorative pattern with a suede patch telling the design's story.

New for 2013: Our FEMALE STORM blanket shows clouds of cool blues and purples hovering in the sky. A calm, steady rain waters the ground and feeds the lands. Plants, four-legged insects and the Diné beings are nurtured and their thirsts are quenched. Diné (Navajo) artist Gilmore Scott captures the beauty of a female summer rainstorm in this original design for the Pendleton Legendary Collection. Unlike spring's male storms that bring downpours, flash floods and thunderstorms, this gentle summer storm is soft and nurturing. Scott's use of colors is strong and bold, echoing the quiet power of Nature and the brilliant high desert landscape. The artist's philosophy that "beauty is simple design and the harmony of color" is evident in this unique blanket.

From 2012: The SPRING Legendary blanket is based on an original design by Chickasaw artist Dustin Mater. The blanket is rich with symbolism common to several tribes of the Mississippian/Muskegon culture of the Southeastern United States. Mater's design represents the annual rebirth of the earth through the spring rains. The vivid shade of green signifies a fresh beginning and the promise of new life and prosperity. Central to the piece is a spiral, illustrating the human soul and its cycle. Another important symbol is the pashofa paddle. This long wooden tool is used to stir pashofa, a traditional hominy dish central to the Chickasaw diet and cultural tradition of food and community gathering. Woodpecker eyes are emblematic of good luck, happiness and wealth.

From 2011: The ALL NIGHT MEETING design is from an original pen-and-ink and colored pencil drawing by Yankton Sioux artist Joseph Chamberlain. The artist is inspired by stories from his childhood and is committed to passing the old teachings to the next generation. His work often portrays spiritual aspects of Plains Indians. All Night Meeting represents a meeting traditional among Lakota, Nakota and Dakota tribes, a gathering at which members drum, pray and meditate. The seven figures in the meeting and the seven Water Birds represent the Seven Fires shared by the peoples on their journey to the Plains. The Seven Council Fires became the governing group of the seven tribes of the Sioux Nation. The two warriors hold a gourd rattle, small drum and other items used during the meeting. Water Birds are a symbol of the renewal of life, the rain and rivers that feed us. Moon and Sun signify the all night nature of the meeting. Each blanket has a sueded commemorative label telling the design's story.

From 2010: The WAY OF LIFE is a visual representation of Pte Oyate – the Buffalo Nation. For many Plains Tribes, the buffalo sustained all life. Every part of the animal was used – the meat for food, and hides for robes, tepee covers and shields. Horns were crafted into bowls and arrow points. Fat was rendered for candles and soap. Swift horses, introduced by the Spanish in the 16th century, became essential to the buffalo hunt. For the Lakota, the buffalo story is held in their breath, their songs, stories and homes. In this unique design, a Pendleton Blanket serves as a buffalo robe, keeping the body warm and the spirit strong. The tepee and blanket strips signify the four winds, the world above and below, as well as night and day. This blanket is based on the art of Jim Yellowhawk, a member of the Cheyenne River Lakota Sioux Tribe. Mr. Yellowhawk lives and works in the beautiful He Sapa Black Hills of South Dakota.For a century, Pendleton Woolen Mills has woven the legends and symbols of Native American tribes into beautiful blankets. Native Americans were our first and remain our most loyal customers. In the early 20th century, Pendleton was among the few American mills making blankets specifically for the Indian trade. A Pendleton blanket continues to signify honor and respect. For a hundred years, Native Americans have acknowledged births, deaths and major milestones and accomplishments with the gift of a Pendleton blanket. Each blanket has a sueded commemorative label telling the design’s story.

From 2009: SHARED SPIRITS is a brilliantly colored design incorporating imagery that is universal among the tribes. The sun, moon, stars and rain clouds represent an honored relationship with the spiritual world of the cosmos. Native American reverence for the natural world is represented by both flora - corn, squash, beans and tobacco - and fauna - buffalo, bear, elk and eagle. The dynamic central image is a sacred circle filled with a cross, a universal symbol of the origin of humankind and the four directions that guide us on our journey. For a century, Pendleton Woolen Mills has woven the legends and symbols of Native American tribes into beautiful blankets. Native Americans were our first and remain our most loyal customers. A Pendleton blanket continues to signify honor and respect. For a hundred years, Native Americans have acknowledged births, deaths and major milestones and accomplishments with the gift of a Pendleton blanket. Shared Spirits celebrates the commonalities of these diverse yet unified cultures and our lasting relationships with them.

From 2005: CELEBRATE THE HORSE depicts a brave warrior astride a swift steed thundering across the plain, accompanied by wild mustangs perhaps yet to be tamed. Similar vivid images were painted on buffalo hides by Plains Indians in the 1800s. Our Celebrate the Horse blanket is based on a design from the Blackfoot tribe, expert horsemen who called the animal "elk-horse" for its great size. The arrival of the horse, brought to the Americas by sixteenth-century Spanish Conquistadors, changed forever the culture of Native Americans. Trading among tribes, herding sheep and hunting buffalo, following migrating game, even protecting territories became dependent on the horse for many Native Americans. Eventually Sioux, Cayuse, Nez Perce, Crow, Comanche, Cheyenne, Kiowa and other tribes were horse-based societies and cultures.

From 2002: STORYTELLER - KEEP MY FIRES BURNING - Native American culture honors Storytellers as holy people, historians and Keepers of Mother Earth and her People. Using language as their tool, these important tribe members (usually an Elder, Shaman or Artist), perpetuate Native American traditions of healing, song and dance, ceremony, religion and, most importantly, the story of creation.

Our CREATION TURTLE blanket was made in recognition of the Iroquois Confederacy. Inspired by the Oneida, Seneca, Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga and Tuscarora Nations, the Turtle design represents the Iroquois legend that the world was created on the shell of the Great Turtle. The Turtle was the only one with enough strength who could support the earth on its back, says the legend. And the earth grew larger until it became the whole world.

Designed in 1992, CIRCLE OF LIFE / ELDERS is in honor of all tribal Elders; the Wisdomkeepers who hand down the teachings and spiritual direction to the children. This guidance gives the children a better understanding of their responsibility to the universe and The Creator, that all things are interrelated and an equal part of the whole. The design represents all colors of humankind, the color of Mother Earth, the sun and other circular celestial bodies and the four directions of life.

RETIRED: Introduced in 2008, THE RECORD KEEPER was an exclusive design adapted from a painting by Cherokee artist and flute performer, TerryLee Whetstone. This stunning blanket is based on one of Mr. Whetstone's most dynamic paintings, a painting inspired by a vivid dream. In Native American tradition, elders pass history, warnings and prophecies from generation to generation through oral traditions as well as ancient rock pictographs and tablets. The dream images here reference symbols often found on those record-keeping rocks and tablets. Images of "Spirit People" are often found in pictographs etched on the faces of rocks. The bear paw references a traditional Cherokee legend. A spiral tells others that a settlement was abandoned and the inhabitants have continued their migration. The butterfly symbol placed at site of the old village signifies that a new village has been found. The dragonfly, a sign of water and renewal, also is considered a messenger. Perhaps the feathered Kachina represents the spirit of an ancestor. Mysteries abound in the dreams of TerryLee Whetstone, the colorful dreams of an accomplished artist and acclaimed musician.

RETIRED: From 2007, the SACRED DANCE blanket depicted how the Cree people relate to the world and communicate with the Creator. The painted horse stands proudly in a depiction of the Horse Dance, a sacred ceremony performed before the Sun Dance. Thunderbirds, shown in the circular Sacred Drum (an instrument of prayer), brought life-nourishing rain and carried the people's prayers to the Creator. The lightning bolts represent the Thunderbird's voices. The colors of the drum are also significant: yellow represents the sun, red is the night and blue is the day. Designed for Pendleton by artist Jesse W. Henderson.

RETIRED: Our THREAD OF LIFE blanket, introduced in 2006, is representative of the timeless beauty of Navajo weaving has been treasured by Native Americans, collectors and art connoisseurs for centuries. The nomadic Navajo believed spiritual guides called the Holy People had led them to the Southwest. One of them, Spider Man, taught the People to make a loom from sunshine, lightning and rain. Spider Woman taught them to weave. So by the time Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th century, the Navajo were already accomplished weavers. The Spanish brought with them their churro sheep and thus the birth of wool weaving among the Navajo. Patterns incorporated traditional Native American designs as well as Spanish and other European motifs discovered through trade. Our "Thread of Life" blanket is a tribute to these talented weavers and their legacy of extraordinary art. Like Navajo legends and love of beauty, these superb weaving skills are passed from generation to generation and flourish today. Alternating stripes with diamonds, triangles or zigzag lines and wavy bands such as those seen in our Thread of Life Blanket were common. Narrow bands alternate with wider ones creating horizontal movement. Larger bands on either end serve as a frame for the work.

RETIRED: In 1990, Pendleton developed a design that acknowledged another tribe outside of the Southwest or Northwest Indians. The PLAINS STAR design was inspired by quilt patterns that have been handmade for generations. Sioux quilts may take years to finish. Each one, with its own unique design, represents a memorial, an event, a person, or honors a special occasion. To commemorate this tradition, the Sioux Star blanket is truly a striking representation of the Sioux nation.

RETIRED: In 1993, SPIRIT QUEST was designed to continue the Native American tradition. It symbolized the ritual of a young brave's quest in seeking his destiny through a vision into the Spirit World of their Creator. The unique design portrays petroglyphs found along the mighty Columbia River dating back over 10,000 years. Spirit Quest commemorates a belief system that is synonymous with the heritage still found today.

RETIRED: AWAKENING - Throughout Native American culture, the transition from girl to womanhood is celebrated in a highly symbolic ceremony that teaches the adolescent girl of her heritage, emphasizes her physical and spiritual transformation into an individual with responsibilities within the tribe, and allows time for inner reflection. The Awakening blanket draws its inspiration from Navajo Kinalda Ceremony, which incorporates song, dance and rituals emphasizing the tribe's traditions. Corn grinding and the baking of a large corn cake in a corn husk basket teach the girl to understand and cater to her people. The sprinkling of corn pollen on the cooked cake symbolizes fertility, nourishment, and beauty. The washing of the girl's hair and painting of her body are designed to aid her walk through womanhood. Racing in specific directions each day attunes the girl to her physical strength and endurance, and emphasizes the cycles of the days, seasons and life. Each of these rituals prepares her for the role she will take upon rejoining the tribe as a woman. By symbolically re-creating important aspects of these four days of ritual, The Awakening blanket honors maturity, responsibility and spiritual heritage.

RETIRED: THE GIFT OF LIFE - Native American beliefs are closely tied to the natural world. Universally, rain - and water itself - is considered to be life-giving and life-sustaining. For all tribes, daily activities revolve around rain and water. In the Northwest, rivers and precipitation are abundant; fishing provides food and dry shelters are important. In the Central Plains, rainfall keeps the grasslands lush for grazing buffalo and other game. In the arid Southwest, great care is taken to preserve each drop. Everywhere, rain and water are crucial for the cultivation of crops and the continuance of life. Running water symbolizes constant life; rain clouds mean good prospects; a raindrop means good luck. The traditional rain-dance is a call for fertility, growth and prosperity. The Gift of Life blanket summons, welcomes and praises this precious element, with symbols representing mountains, rivers, "Tawa" the sun-god, lightning, clouds, corn and rain itself.

RETIRED: THEY SANG FOR HORSES is a tribute to the Sun God, (Johano-ai), who rides proudly across the sky each day to create the Navajo image of greatness. The blanket depicts important elements of his journey: The morning star, the sun dial, the Sun God's five horses, the storm pattern of dark or foul weather, and the nightfall of the day before.

RETIRED: CHIEF EAGLE was the first blanket dedicated since the 1920's. In 1976, it was in honor of the memory of Chief Seelatsee, Chief of the Yakama Nation. Chief Seelatsee is remembered for his involvement in programs for the education and concern of youth. These programs, some still in use today, gained great respect for him not only as a tribal leader, but on the national level in Washington D.C. as well. The 14 arrows that the eagle holds in the design signify the bands of the Yakama Nation, the largest in the Northwest.

RETIRED: Pendleton celebrates the legend of SACRED PIPE, which is often referred to as the Native American Indian Peace Pipe. This important instrument in lore and culture is believed to have mystical powers. No prayer or ceremony takes place without the Sacred Pipe. According to legend, the breath of the Great Spirit rises upwards to a connection with the Spirit World and Our Creator through the smoking of the sacred pipe.

RETIRED: PEOPLE OF THE LONG HOUSE The Longhouse tradition is deeply interwoven with the lives of American Indians. Historically, it has been a place of worship, of treaties for peace, of celebrations of birth, marriage and death and of important tribal meetings. Long before the Europeans came to North America, the "People of the Longhouse" was synonymous with the formation of the League of Five Nations, today known as the Iroquois Confederation which watched over the Longhouse; the Mohawks guarded the door to the East, and the Seneca were Keepers of the West. In the center and as Keeper of the Fire was the place of the Onondagas. Inside the Northern and Southern walls lived the Cayugas and Oneidas. Clan leaders were the legendary support braces with tribal chiefs as posts. The Iroquois Trail is the symbolic center aisle. The People of the Longhouse Blanket commemorates the Millennium of the Iroquois Confederation where their traditions are still alive today.