WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (March 16, 2023) – A very special milestone took place at the Navajo Nation Museum Thursday as the founders of Missing & Murdered Diné Relatives (MMDR), received a donation of $20,000. The funds were raised through sales of The Healing Blanket, an artist edition blanket commissioned by Cellular One and Pendleton last year to support the work of MMDR and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, also a recipient of $20,000. Both organizations strive to raise awareness and work toward solutions that address the disproportionately high rates of missing and murdered Indigenous persons.
At a special ceremony held at The Navajo Nation Museum in late November, 30 families of victims were gifted a blanket from Cellular One and Pendleton. Honorable Tribal Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty, a founder of MMDR, emceed the event with the help of co-founders Meskee Yatsayte and Jolene Holgate.
As they walked onto the stage, families were wrapped in their blanket by Tribal leaders, and each family was given the opportunity to share memories of their lost loved one.
“Seeing and hearing from the families who have experienced the loss of a family member who was murdered or is still missing was incredibly emotional. The stories that were shared brought many tears for all of us and stressed the importance of supporting committed grassroots organizations like MMDR,” said Judd Hinkle, CEO of Cellular One.
“The experience also brings our mission as a technology infrastructure company and mobile carrier into powerful focus. We are proud to work alongside forward-thinking Tribal leadership to increase access to mobile voice and Broadband across Tribal lands. This results in safer communities by making communication for everyone, including law enforcement faster and more reliable,” added Hinkle.
The Healing Blanket was launched to the public on the Pendleton website, pendleton-usa.com just before the holidays last year, retailing for $329. In 10 days, it was sold out.
“The Healing Blanket is the fastest sell-through of an Artist Edition Blanket in company history, and we are proud to announce that we are adding it to our new lineup of blankets for 2023,” said Pendleton President and CEO John Bishop. “Our intention is that this beautiful blanket will continue to bring comfort and hope to all those who receive one, while also raising awareness of the important work of MMDR and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.”
The Healing Blanket will be available for purchase again on pendleton-usa.com in April 2023.
ABOUT THE HEALING BLANKET
Against the blue of Father Sky, songbirds rise from Mother Earth to greet the healing rays of Morning Sun. The birds carry messages of harmony, balance, and renewal in a design that brings awareness to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples Movement. A band of turquoise symbolizes Life, with bands of red for missing Native relatives who will never be forgotten. Diné artisan Leandra Yazzie’s design brings a powerful message of resilience and hope.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Leandra Yazzie (Diné) lives in Blue Gap, Arizona. Growing up, her grandmother and aunt, both renowned Navajo weavers, shared their talents, techniques, and histories with her. Ms. Yazzie credits the resilient women in her life with inspiring the vibrant cultural undertones that inform her work.
SPECIAL FEATURE: A MESSAGE FROM MMDR FOUNDERS
A special message from the MMDR Founders was recorded at the Navajo Nation Museum, where The Healing Blanket is currently on display. Watch their video message on Cellular One’s Facebook channel at facebook.com/cellularoneonline (post date: March 16, 2023).
ABOUT CELLULAR ONE
For almost 30 years, Cellular One has been a leading regional provider of mobile technology and wireless communications service for underserved tribal lands and rural communities in the American Southwest. The company operates a network of more than 230 cell sites, covering 60,000 square miles and has almost 200 employees, many of whom are Native American.
Founded by philanthropist Smith Bagley, community giving is a vital part of the company’s DNA. The carrier consistently sponsors a wide variety of regional events, scholarships, fundraisers, and supports charity organizations including Native Americans for Community Action, Navajo MMDR, Diné Skate Park Project, The Annual Hopi Earth Day Cleanup, the White Mountain Apache Kids’ Fishing Derby, and many more. For more information, please visit mycellularone.com.
ABOUT PENDLETON WOOLEN MILLS
Pendleton Woolen Mills is a heritage lifestyle brand and the leader in wool blankets, apparel and accessories. Weaving in Oregon since 1863 and located in Portland, Oregon, Pendleton weaves iconic designs in two of America’s remaining woolen mills located in Pendleton, Oregon and Washougal, Washington. With six generations of family ownership, Pendleton is focused on their “Warranted to Be a Pendleton” legacy, creating quality lifestyle products with timeless classic styling. Inspiring individuals from the Pacific Northwest and beyond for over 150 years, Pendleton products are available at Pendleton stores across the US, select retailers worldwide, and on pendleton-usa.com.
Pendleton is part of a connected community that only grows stronger through education, preservation, wellness, and care for America’s heroes. The company has a track record of giving back through donations, contributions, and philanthropic partnerships. Philanthropic partnerships include: the American Indian College Fund, Fisher House Foundation, Native American Rehabilitation Association, Wildland Firefighters Foundation, Center of Southwest Studies, National Park Foundation, Dig Deep’s Navajo and Missing & Murdered Dine Relatives.