Indian blankets have a storied history dating back to the late 19th century. Barry Friedman details the history of trade blankets in his book, “Chasing Rainbows.” The colorful blankets typically were of a geometric design and created by whites to appeal to Indians.
Pendleton, a Portland, Ore.-based company, started weaving blankets in 1896. Prior to World War II, 800 woolen mills operated in the United States. Today, only a handful of mills remain in operation. Although Pendleton's blanket appeal has spread far and wide, Natives still make up half the demand.