- By Mikayla Steele
SEATTLE — The coronavirus pandemic may have delayed Eighth Generation's plans to open a beautiful new brick-and-mortar retail store in downtown Portland, Oregon but it can't stop the Native-owned business.
Eighth Generation recently donated over 10,000 masks to Seattle-area health clinics to slow the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eighth Generation is located in Seattle’s Pike Place Market and was founded by Louie Gong (Nooksack). Late last year, Gong sold the business to the Snoqualmie Tribe and agreed to stay on as the operator of a business that has become popular in Indian Country because of its line of blankets and other products that were created by Native American artisans. Eighth Generation’s motto is “Inspired Natives, Not Native-inspired.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, plans to open a downtown Portland, Ore. retail location have been delayed.
On Thursday, Eighth Generation introduced the “Oregon Potlatch” blanket, which was originally slated to launch in tandem with the grand opening of Eighth Generation’s much anticipated Portland retail store. The new blanket was designed by Portland-area artist Shirod Younker (Coquille/Miluk Coos/Umpqua) and Tony A. Johnson (Clatsop/Wahkiakum/Lower Chinook), current tribal chairman of the Chinook Tribe.
Potlatch is a term applied to ceremonies that were celebrated by Indigenous groups all along the Northwest Coast. While it may be organized and carried out differently by different culture groups, "the potlatch universally is a recognition, a public validation of rank accomplished by the ceremonial distribution of wealth" (Blackman et al. 1981:30)
“It has been exciting to watch Louie and Eighth Generation grow as a Native-owned business, their dedication to working with Native artists is making real, Native artwork, available to everyone in a culturally appropriate way. It is an honor to support them in this effort.” shared Cheryle A. Kennedy, Chairwoman of the Grand Ronde Tribe.