T-shirt designs win American Indian business plan competition
The team members included Mary Alice Walker, a member of the Winnebago Tribe in Nebraska; Curtis Wallette, a Northern Cheyenne; Karis Jackson, a Crow/Hidatsa and Angela Deputee, a Crow.
“At first, we didn’t think it was a good plan,” said Walker, a recent business management graduate. “But after we did our research, we found out we’re the only ones to have this idea.”
The “idea” was actually a formal business plan developed by the four students to turn an old building in Lame Deer into a T-shirt business. That business, called NDN Translations in the business plan, promotes awareness and pride in American Indian culture and heritage on T-shirts. The front of the shirt carries a single word or phrase in a specific tribal language with a little arrow pointing to the back for the translation.
While the concept seems pretty simple and tourist landscape is scattered with American Indian T-shirts, the students said their idea took things a step forward from the traditional images of famous elders, artwork of headdresses or bison. They provided a way to honor and celebrate their language with a word or phrase.