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Pendleton Blankets

about Trade Blankets and Pendletons

Over the many generations since Native Americans began trade with Europeans, few items have become so closely identified with the Indigenous American Cultures- particularly those of the plains and the southwest- as has the American Indian Trade Blanket. In fact because the colorful wearing robe or trade blanket has become such an integral part of the cultures of many American Indian Tribes, trade blankets are almost universally known as "Indian Blankets".

Even thought the trade blanket originated outside the Native American Cultures, it took the place of hand-loomed texiless and buffalo or other robes for both ceremonial and practical uses. The Trade Blanket was also described by the word ROBE, as it implies the blanket was to be draped over the shoulders or wrapped around a person rather then just used as bedding.

A ROBE (blanket) is an extension of one's status and feelings. In the past, an Indian person judged wealth and status in number of horses. Today, trade blankets are like horses were in the past. They define a person's means and are a part of his/her personal wealth. A trade blanket might appeal to someone because of their pesonal preference for it's color and design. The blanket also represents warmth on one's journey.

Today, Pendleton Woolen Mills is the best-known manufacturer. There were at least four other manufacturers active during the "golden age" of the trade blanket in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Pendleton is the sole survivor, however, and continues to be the major trade blanket manufacturer.
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