American Indian College Fund and Pendleton Woolen Mills Student Blanket Contest Opens November 15

Nov 17, 2022 | Blog, Press Releases, Student Success

Prizes Include Scholarships and Cash

Denver, Colo.—November 17, 2022—The American Indian College Fund and Pendleton Woolen Mills, the international lifestyle brand headquartered in Portland, Oregon, are announcing they are accepting submissions for The Tribal College Blanket Design Contest beginning November 15. All American Indian and Alaska Native students attending a tribal college or university are eligible to submit one or several designs in the competition, which awards scholarships and cash prizes to the top three designers. The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2023.

The Tribal College Blanket Design Contest, now in its third year, elevates the voices, work, and representation of tribal college and university (TCU) students through a high-profile platform to recognize and develop the work of promising artists through internationally distributed products—while providing TCU students with additional scholarship opportunities. The winning designs are featured in Pendleton’s American Indian College Fund collection, which features wool blankets. Pendleton, which has worked with the College Fund since 1995, has provided over $1 million in scholarship support for American Indian and Alaska Native students attending TCUs.

Located in remote, rural areas and on Indian reservations, TCUs provide a critical link to higher education, career advancement, and Indigenous knowledge for their communities. Every year the College Fund provides millions of dollars to thousands of TCU students; the blanket design contest adds to that support while elevating Native art, culture, and stories.

Submission guidelines and applications are available on the College Fund’s web site at https://collegefund.org/pendletoncontest. Any American Indian or Alaska Native student attending a TCU can submit up to two designs. Formal artistic study and textile design experience are not required.

Design winners are selected each year by a committee comprised of Native American artists and College Fund and Pendleton staff.
Prizes for the 2022 contest winners include:

Grand Prize Winner:
• $2,000 cash
• $5,000 scholarship
• 6 blankets

Second Place Winner:
• $500 cash
• $2,500 scholarship

Third Place Winner:
• $250 cash
• $1,500 scholarship

Chelysa Owens-Cyr, a graduate of Fort Peck Community College, a tribal college, was the 2021 Tribal College Blanket Contest Winner. Her winning design, titled “Unity,” was inspired by her Lakota culture and roots, and depicts how nature and Native people are one, which inspired her title. The blanket is available for purchase on pendleton-usa.com.

A self-taught contemporary ledger artist, bead worker, graphic designer, and painter, Owens-Cyr’s work is influenced by her family and culture. She uses art to share her personal teachings, beliefs, stories, and visions. She said, “The College Fund has helped me a lot through scholarships. And Pendleton is one of my favorite brands. They work with the artist to get it [the work] as close to our vision as possible. I’m living the dream at such a young age because I have always wanted to be a graphic artist. This just adds to my art journey, which is a good feeling. I would like to give a huge thank you to Pendleton Woolen Mills and the American Indian College Fund for giving this amazing opportunity to tribal college students and allowing others and me to showcase our art and talents and share our visions with you.”

About Pendleton Woolen Mills—Pendleton Woolen Mills is a heritage brand and the leader in wool blankets, apparel, and accessories. Weaving in Oregon since 1863 and located in Portland, Oregon, Pendleton weaves iconic designs in two of America’s remaining woolen mills, located in Pendleton, Oregon and Washougal, Washington. With six generations of family ownership, Pendleton is focused on their “Warranted to Be a Pendleton” legacy, creating quality lifestyle products with timeless classic styling. Inspiring individuals from the Pacific Northwest and beyond for over 150 years, Pendleton products are available at Pendleton stores across the U.S., select retailers worldwide, and at pendleton-usa.com.

About the American Indian College Fund—The American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 33 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $14.45 million in scholarships and other direct student support to American Indian students in 2021-22. Since its founding in 1989 the College Fund has provided more than $284 million in scholarships, program, community, and tribal college support. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit www.collegefund.org.

Journalists: The American Indian College Fund does not use the acronym AICF. On second reference, please use the College Fund.

Photo 1: The award-winning Unity blanket design, created by American Indian College Fund scholar and Fort Peck Community College graduate Chelysa Owens-Cyr. Pendleton Woolen Mills is producing the blanket.

Contacts

Ben Molzhon, Program Administrator – Engagement & Communications, American Indian College Fund, 303-430-5324, bmolzhon@collegefund.org

Dina Horwedel, Director of Public Education, American Indian College Fund, 303-426-8900, dhorwedel@collegefund.org

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