"Blackfeet artist reclaiming Indian Art through Eighth Generation" by Great Falls Tribune

November 02, 2018

Kristen Inbody, Great Falls Tribune. November 01, 2018

Blackfeet artist John Isaiah Pepion drew on tradition, a modern edge and the beauty of the Montana sky for his design for a new wool blanket that's part of an entrepreneurship-for-artists project.

His "Lightning Horse" wool blanket is produced by Eighth Generation of Seattle, the first Native-owned company to produce wool blankets.

Pepion is part of the company's Inspired Natives Project, which aims to provide economic opportunities and business education for Native artists. 

"The whole thing is the art is from inspired Natives. It's not Native-inspired and actually pays the artists for the artwork," Pepion said. "Nowadays there's a lot of cultural appropriation, people taking our designs and making money off of them. They're not asking us or getting input."

Pepion, who lives on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, is the only Plains Indian in the four-year program, which he began in the spring.

"It's a huge responsibly but an honor as well to represent the Plains and the Blackfeet," he said.

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