ALBUQUERQUE– Celebrate the American Indian Graduate Center’s (AIGC) 50th Anniversary by wrapping up in a custom designed commemorative blanket, set to be unveiled Friday, Nov. 1. Designed by AIGC and AIGCS alumni Brittany Gene, Maka Monture and Janelle Cronin, the limited-edition blanket honors the organization’s 50-year legacy of funding Native students from over 500 tribes in 50 states.
Featuring elements that are representative of the Tlingit, Mohawk and Navajo — the tribes of the three artists — the design is a testament to the diversity of Native students that benefit from the $15 million of scholarships AIGC awards each year.
“This commemorative blanket represents the diversity of the tribal students who have been empowered by AIGC,” said Angelique Albert, AIGC Executive Director. “We are celebrating 50 years of success as the premiere funding center for Native American scholarships and we are looking to maintain our legacy of excellence for the next 50 years.”
“As a member of Indian Country and a student of science, the influences from nature such as the delicate floral patterns depict their existence and growth in the harshest of environments, which is very much the identity of Native women across the nation,” said Janelle Cronin, blanket design artist and AIGC Development Assistant.
“The inclusion of the geometric designs brings expression of identity and represents a contemporary presence within the modern world. I found the unity between the style of designs a reflection of my own complex identity: a Navajo woman, student of science, and Water Protector of Indian Country.”
Meet the designers:
Brittany Gene is a Kiyaa’áanii from Indian Wells, AZ on the Dine Nation. She is a first-year Master of Industrial Design student at Arizona State University (ASU)’s Herberger Institute. Brittany was recently hired by Turning Points, ASU’s indigenous magazine, as a freelance pattern maker and branding stylist for indigenous brands. She is also an advocate for cultural preservation and progression, hoping to one day become a creative director to bring acknowledgement to indigenous peoples in the realm of design.
Maka Monture is a Tlingit and Kanien’kehá:ka woman from Yakutat, Alaska in the Southeastern Coast of Alaska and Canadian Six Nations. Maka received a Bachelor of Science in Applied Indigenous Studies with a minor in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University and is finishing her Master of Public Health focusing on Indigenous youth suicide prevention from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is a Gates Millennium Scholar and the program manager for the Arctic Youth Ambassadors Program, an organization that brings together diverse youth from across Alaska to serve as ambassadors for their communities and country in building awareness at home and abroad about life in the Arctic.
Janelle Cronin is a Navajo woman from Gallup, New Mexico. She earned her Bachelor of Natural Science from Haskell Indian Nations University in 2015. As a Sloan Indigenous Graduate Program Scholar, she earned her Master of Science degree in Ecological Sciences & Engineering and Curriculum Studies & Instruction from Purdue University in May 2018. Janelle has worked at AIGC since 2018.
Blankets can be purchased at aigc.org/50.