American Indian Blankets - Native Indian Blanket Coat
Indian blankets, whether woven by native peoples or mass-produced in a woolen mill, are integral to Native American life and to the early trading history of North America.
Even today, Indian blankets are still part of Native American life from birth to death: they are given in celebration of marriage, birth and christening; used to repay debt, offer thanks or display status. Indian blankets are wrapped around the young and the aged, surrounding them from birth to burial.
American Indian blankets produced today pay homage to their role in history and in the lives of native peoples. A recognized leader in the manufacture of Indian blankets, Pendleton Woolen Mills, has been producing its legendary Pendleton blankets in the Northwest since the turn of the 20 th Century. The blankets are available in the authentic designs and vivid colors drawn from traditions and expressions of Native American life and lore.
As warm and practical as they are to use, American Indian Blankets are beautiful to behold. Display a brightly hued Indian saddle blanket above the fireplace; drape a Southwest Indian blanket across a leather chair. If you know the story behind the design of your blanket, it's an opportunity for conversation and learning. Blankets in the Pendleton Legendary Series bear a suede patch that explains the story or symbolism behind a particular woven design.
In their earliest history, native peoples wore blankets woven from plant fibers, tree bark, animals hides and fur, and as it became available, cotton and wool. They traded their blankets in exchange for other goods well before the advent of white settlers, so it was a natural transition to begin trading beaver pelts for the commercial blankets brought by the Europeans, such as the Hudson Bay point blankets issued by the longstanding Canadian corporation, the Hudson Bay Company .
In the regions of Mexico and Arizona, the Navajos began to weave with wool after the Spanish brought sheep to the area in the 17 th Century. Navajo women became renowned as the most skilled weavers in that part of the Southwest, creating blankets featuring narrow stripes or bands. A few centuries later, Navajo weavers integrated a weaving style with Mexican origins called "Saltillo." Saltillo-style blankets are rectangular with a border design (typically a serrated diamond) framing a center pattern. Today Navajo blankets and saddle blankets are highly sought for their quality of yarns, designs and texture.
Many online stores and trading posts sell American Indian blankets, and many sources are available online to learn about their important role in the history and preservation of Native American culture.