February 28, 2007

Pendleton blankets still sell

Weaving a story:  Missoula artist Jesse Henderson honors his Chippewa-Cree heritageSince 1976, the Legendary series has introduced one blanket a year. And each year, one is retired. The White Buffalo Calf Woman blanket was taken off the market in 1996. It's now enjoying a secondary market life selling for about $1,000, said Christnacht.

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.

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