COULEE DAM – For the first time, the Colville Confederated Tribes Language Program and the Tribes’ Youth Development Program have teamed up to host a fashion show in honor of Native American Heritage Month.
Throughout the past week, Lake Roosevelt High School hosted awareness days, talking about different important Indigenous issues and the fashion show was going to be the final event of Heritage Month.
Students from Lake Roosevelt High School and High School attended the first-ever Unitary Reclaim Indigenous Fashion Show held in the gymnasium on Friday November 19 morning and got to see a side of Native American / Indigenous culture.
âOverall today was a great day,â said Kamea Pino, nxaÊamxÄÃn language instructor for the Colville Confederated Tribes language program. “The models were so beautiful, our volunteers did an amazing job putting on the show and making sure everyone was well taken care of.”
The models were all members of the Colville tribe and descendants of all ages.
This fashion show was unique in that there was a traditional line, where students bring their own winged dresses and ribbon shirts and there would be another line from Unitary Apparel.
Cody Miller, a member of the Colville Tribe, created the Unitary Apparel line and appeared in the assembly to talk about his line and his journey to where it is today.
“How are you!?” Miller told the crowd.
Soon he started talking and sharing his story of how it all started for him.
âMy son came over to me and asked me why there weren’t any Native Transformers, and I said let’s do one and so we designed one of my first shirts,â Miller said. . âWe created Optimus Prime with a cap and bustle and it was one of the first shirts I dropped. “
Originally, Miller didn’t make the shirt to sell, but after seeing how many people expressed interest in one of these Optimus Prime shirts, he decided that this could be his calling.
“I didn’t even do it to sell it, I just made one for myself and my son and some people saw it and was like, ‘I want one! Miller said. “So we started to make shirts”
Miller said it wasn’t easy at first and there was still a lot he was somewhat new to.
âI didn’t know where to start,â he said. “I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t have any goals.”
It wasn’t until Miller spoke with a friend that they told him, just to make shirts and sell them and see how it goes.
âAnd that’s what I did,â Miller said. “And it went pretty well.”
Part of his motivation to create his own line also stems from a lack of variety in clothing lines indigenous to his youth.
âI remember when I was younger I would go to Macy’s or Hot Topic to find shirts with native prints, there weren’t a lot of native designers when I was younger,â Miller said. âToday you can go out and find all types of different models and some really awesome clothing lines. “
Miller had a vision of what he wanted to do.
âWhen I started my clothing line, I thought I could design things closer to home and give us something that we can relate to that is representative of our tribe and our culture,â said Miller said. “And I am very proud of it.”
Miller has accomplished a great many things throughout his life.
“I set goals for myself, I’ve achieved those goals now I’m setting new ones,” Miller said.
But perhaps one of the biggest goals or self-discipline was his sobriety.
âAnd this month, November 8, I celebrated 20 years without drugs and alcohol,â Miller told the crowd.