COULEE DAM – For the first time, the Colville Confederated Tribes Language Program and the Tribes’ Youth Development Program teamed up to put on a fashion show in honor of Native American Heritage Month.
All of last week Lake Roosevelt high school has had Awareness Days, talking about different important native issues and the fashion show was going to be the final event for Heritage Month.
Students from Lake Roosevelt High and Middle School witnessed the first-ever Unitary Reclaim Indigenous Fashion show held in the gym on Friday (Nov. 19) morning and got to see a side of the Native American/Indigenous culture.
“Overall today was awesome,” said Kamea Pino, nxaʔamxčín language Instructor for the Colville Confederated Tribes Language Program. “The models looked so beautiful, our volunteers did an amazing job putting the show together and making sure everybody was well taken care of.”
Models were all Colville tribal members and descendants of all ages.
This modeling show was unique in that there was a traditional line, where students bring their own wing dresses and ribbon shirts and there would be another line from Unitary Apparel.
Cody Miller, a Colville tribal member created the Unitary Apparel line and made a guest appearance at the assembly talking about his line and his journey to where he is today.
“How’s it going!?” Miller said to the crowd.
Soon he began talking and sharing his story on how everything started for him.
“My son came to me and asked me why there were no Native Transformers, and I said let's make one and so we designed one of my first shirts,” said Miller. “We made Optimus Prime with a headdress and a bustle and that was one of the first shirts I dropped.”
Miller originally didn’t make the shirt to sell it but after seeing how many people expressed their interest in getting one of those Optimus Prime shirts, he decided that this could be his calling.
“I didn’t even do it to sell it, I just made me and my son one and some people saw it and were like, “I want one of those!” Miller said. “So we started making shirts,”
Miller expressed it wasn’t easy at the beginning and that there were still a lot of things he was somewhat new to.
“I didn’t know how to get started,” he said. “I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t have any goals.”
It wasn’t until Miller was talking with a friend that they had expressed to him, to just simply make some shirts and sell them and see how it goes.
“And so I did that,” Miller said. “And it went pretty well.”
Some of his motivation in creating his own line also stems from a lack of variety of native clothing lines from his youth.
“I remember when I was younger I would go to Macy’s or Hot Topic to find shirts that had Native prints on them, there wasn’t a lot of Native designers when I was younger,” Miller expressed. “Today you can go out there and find all types of different designs and really awesome clothing lines.”
Miller had a vision for what he wanted to do.
“When I started my clothing line, I thought, I think I could design stuff that is closer to home and gives us something that we can relate to and that is representative of our Tribe and our culture,” Miller said. “And I take a lot of pride in that.”
Miller has accomplished a great number of things throughout his life.
“I set some goals, I accomplished those goals now I’m setting new ones,” Miller said.
But perhaps one of the biggest goals or self-disciplines was his sobriety.
“And this month, on the 8th of November, I celebrated 20 years with no drugs or alcohol,” Miller said to the crowd.