This year, thanks to a collaboration between the Department of Education and two native artists, Pokagon graduates will receive a customized blanket to be wrapped in and honored with at their Graduation Banquet. Staff worked with Louie Gong, president of Eighth Generation in Seattle, Washington, and Sarah Agaton Howes, Anishnaabe, to translate culture-based vision through cultural art.
“We were able to design an image that encapsulates the traditions, culture, and sovereignty of a proud nation,” said Sam Morseau, Education Director. “The result is something that future generations will be excited to receive in honor of their educational achievements.”
The wool blanket features the Tree of Life and honors traditional woodlands floral art, the maple tree, traditional materials, and the Potawatomi role as Keepers of the Fire. The blanket was created in different color schemes—copper and sunset—to represent different levels of student achievement.
“Tribes like the Pokagon Band are helping us prove that it’s possible to update blanket tradition from one that drains resources and opportunity from cultural artists, to one that creates opportunities for cultural artists,” said Gong, who was raised by his grandparents in the Nooksack tribal community. Eighth Generation is the first native owned business to offer wool blankets.