American Indian College Fund and Pendleton Woollen Mills


Denver, Colorado, Nov. 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – The American Indian College Fund and Pendleton Woolen Mills, the international lifestyle brand based in Portland, Oregon, have chosen “Unity” by Chelysa Owens-Cyr as tribal college 2021 Cover contest winner. Chelysa is a member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Dakota Sioux / Pasqua Cree Nations, an American Indian College Fund scholar and a student of Fort Peck Community College, a tribal college in Poplar, MT. She is studying business administration.

Pendleton creates woolen blankets in partnership with the American Indian College Fund (the College Fund) for its American Indian College Fund collection. In addition, Pendleton has provided nearly $ 1.65 million in higher education support to Native American and Alaska Native students. The College Fund and Pendleton launched the Tribal College Blanket Design Contest in 2020 to further raise the voices, work and representation of tribal college and university (TCU) students while providing additional scholarship opportunities. Owens-Cyr’s design is the second winner chosen for the annual competition.

Owens-Cyr says the design represents unity with the border made up of several geometric Lakota-style teepees depicting a village. The squares represent the people or families who live in the village. Above the teepees, the geometric morning stars represent those still visible before sunrise (the fading yellow to orange background symbolizing sunrise). In the middle of the drawing, a sacred dog, or horse, indicates strength and unity, the lightning on the horse symbolizing speed and agility, and the circle around the horse’s eye demonstrating strong vision. Owens-Cyr says the overall design shows how nature and Indigenous people are one, which inspired the title “Oneness.”

Owens-Cyr is a self-taught contemporary accountant, pearl beader, graphic designer and painter whose work is influenced by her family and culture. She uses art to share her personal teachings, beliefs, stories and visions. She said: “The College Fund has helped me a lot with scholarships. And Pendleton is one of my favorite brands. They work with the artist to get it [the work] as close as possible to our vision. I live the dream at such a young age because I always wanted to be a graphic designer. It just adds to my artistic background, which is a good feeling. I would like to warmly thank Pendleton Woolen Mills and the American Indian College Fund for giving this amazing opportunity to tribal students and for allowing others and myself to showcase our art and talents and share our visions with you.

President Haven Gourneau of Fort Peck Community College said, “It was a proud moment for Fort Peck Community College for Chelysa to be chosen among so many other talented student artists.” She noted that Owens-Cyr also designed the college’s logo and that his artwork is part of community, social media, and his education. “It’s all part of the circle.

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “Our students are gifted in their artistic abilities and the College Fund appreciates the opportunity to work with Pendleton to showcase these gifts and support the resources students need to be successful. University. We especially value our students’ abilities to draw on their life experiences and cultural knowledge and to create beauty that can be shared with others.

Unity will be available for purchase in spring 2022.

The Tribal College Cover Design Competition is open to all Native American students at TCU. The competition provides a large-scale new platform to recognize and develop the work of promising artists and to voice and represent Indigenous students and UCTs through products distributed internationally. Located in remote rural areas and on Indian reservations, TCUs provide an essential link to higher education, career advancement and indigenous knowledge for some of the poorest and least connected indigenous communities in the country. Each year, the College Fund provides millions of dollars to thousands of TCU students; the cover design competition adds to that support while elevating Indigenous art, culture and stories.

Applications are now being accepted for The Tribal College 2022 Cover Design Contest. Submission guidelines and applications are available on the College Fund website at Any native TCU student can submit up to two designs. Formal artistic studies and experience in textile design are not required.

Design winners are selected annually by a committee made up of Native American artists as well as staff from College Fund and Pendleton. The prices include:

· Grand Prize Winners: $ 2,000 in cash, a $ 5,000 purse and six of the winning covers.

· Second Place Winners: $ 500 in cash and a $ 2,500 purse.

· Third place winners: $ 250 in cash and a $ 1,500 purse.

About Pendleton Wool mills—Pendleton Woolen Mills is a heritage brand and the leader in woolen blankets, clothing and accessories. Founded in 1863 and located in Portland, Oregon, Pendleton weaves iconic patterns in two of America’s last woolen mills, located in Pendleton, Oregon and Washougal, Washington. With six generations of family ownership, Pendleton focuses on its “Warranted to Be a Pendleton” heritage, creating quality lifestyle products with a timeless classic style. Inspiring individuals of the Pacific Northwest and beyond for over 150 years, Pendleton products are available at Pendleton stores in the United States, select retailers worldwide and at

Aabout the American Indian College Fund– The American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Indigenous higher education for 32 years. The College Fund estimates that “education is the answer” and provided $ 15.5 million in scholarships and other direct aid to Native American students in 2020-2021. Since its inception in 1989, The College Fund has provided over $ 259 million in scholarships, programs and The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and supportive programs at the country’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, located on reserves. Indian or nearby, ensuring that students have the tools they need to graduate and succeed in their careers. Regularly receives top marks from independent charity reviewers and is one of the top 100 charities nationwide named in the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information on the American Indian College Fund, please visit

Journalists: The American Indian College Fund does not use the acronym AICF. For the second referral, please use the College Fund.

Photo 1: Chelysa Owens-Cyr, a member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Dakota Sioux / Pasqua Cree Nations and a student at Fort Peck Community College in Montana, created “Unity,” the Tribal College 2021 winning design of the American Indian College Fund. Cover contest.

Photo 2: The award-winning Unity blanket design, created by Chelysa Owens-Cyr, American Indian College Fund scholar and student of Fort Peck Community College. The blanket is produced by Pendleton Woolen Mills.

Video: Meet American Indian College Fund Fellow Chelysa Owens-Cyr and learn more about her life and the inspiration behind her award-winning Unity cover design.

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  • Unit cover


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