“Many Nations” The Latest American Indian College Fund Student-Designed Pendleton Blanket, Now Available For Purchase

Diné College student Dustin Lopez creates successful design

Many nations ceiling design.

Many nations ceiling design.

Many nations ceiling design.

Dustin Lopez with his award winning Pendleton Blanket design.

Dustin Lopez with his award winning Pendleton Blanket design.

Dustin Lopez with his award winning Pendleton Blanket design.

DENVER, Colo., March 23, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Pendleton Woolen Mills, the acclaimed Portland, Oregon-based lifestyle brand, along with the Denver-based American Indian College Fund, announced the winning Tribal College Blanket Design for 2022 , Many nationsis now available in Pendleton’s American Indian College Fund Collection.

Pendleton has been making wool blankets in partnership with the American Indian College Fund for more than 20 years. A portion of ceiling line sales supports approximately $50,000 annually in scholarships for local students. Pendleton also contributes to a scholarship endowment worth over $1 million today.

Dustin Lopez is a student at Diné College pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. His winning design Many nations, was selected from 107 entries. As the winning designer, Lopez will receive a $5,000 stipend, $2,000 for books and odds and ends, and six blankets for his design portfolio.

Lopez explained that the design of Many nations intended to represent the identity crisis felt by indigenous peoples who are descendants of more than one tribe or have non-native ancestry. Indigenized strands of DNA pay tribute to water as the element without which we cannot exist. The hourglass shape consists of the initials M and B for “mixed blood,” but the hourglass also symbolizes tsiiyéeł, or matriarchal society, for many Navajo artists. Star shapes represent both biological and figurative parents, passing on traditional teachings and helping those struggling with their identity to navigate the world on and off the reservation.

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Lopez used a serape design to honor his family’s Yaqui and Laguna Pueblo side and those red tones that reminded him of his home in Coyote Kills Canyon. Finally, the triangles represent the artist beaming with pride, a sentiment he seeks to convey to other indigenous peoples through all his work, regardless of the mix of their DNA.

This piece, along with many of Lopez’s other designs, was inspired in part by the acceptance he found in the powwow circle. “In the powwow there are many dances between the tribes and we usually dance to prayer. In this arena I learned to embrace my nations with a full heart and an open mind as I would do the dances.”

Lopez was previously a firefighter for four years until a month-long battle with COVID-19 forced him into early retirement. He spent the next few weeks thinking before deciding to apply to Diné College. Lopez had owned his own graphic design/creative business for 14 years by this point, but wanted more. After completing his bachelor’s degree, he plans to switch to the Master of Fine Arts course with a focus on graphic design and teaching.

The Tribal College Blanket Design Contest is open to all native TCU students. Applications are open each November on the College Fund website at The competition aims to create greater recognition for the work of promising artists, provide valuable design experience working with an internationally recognized brand, and provide students with scholarships and cash prizes to support college expenses. The program also helps the College Fund and Pendleton honor the richness of indigenous arts, cultures and histories by sharing original Native American student designs with the public.

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About Pendleton wool mills
Pendleton Woolen Mills is a heritage brand and leader in wool blankets, clothing and accessories. Weaving in Oregon since 1863 and based in Portland, Oregon, Pendleton weaves iconic designs in two of America’s remaining wool mills, located in Pendleton, Oregon and Washougal, Washington. Family-owned for six generations, Pendleton focuses on its “Warranted to Be a Pendleton” legacy, creating quality lifestyle products with timeless classic designs. Pendleton products have been inspiring people across the Pacific Northwest and beyond for over 150 years and are available in Pendleton stores across the United States, select retailers worldwide and on

About the American Indian College Fund—The American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 33 years. The College Fund believes “education is the answer” and provided $14.45 million in scholarships and other direct student assistance to Native American students in 2021-22. Since its inception in 1989, the College Fund has provided more than $284 million in scholarship, program and community grants. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and fellowship programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities that located on or near Indian reservations to ensure students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity assessors and is one of the top 100 charities in the country to be included in the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, visit

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

Photo 1: Dustin Lopez with his award winning Pendleton Blanket design.

Photo 2: Many nations ceiling design.


CONTACT: Dina Horwedel American Indian College Fund 303-430-5350 [email protected] Colleen Billiot American Indian College Fund 720-214-2569 [email protected]


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