Northwest Native Designs
About Northwest Native Designs
photo of Ernie Apodaca with eagle chair
Ernie Apodaca
Northwest Native Designs provides furniture and interior design accessories to hotels, offices, casinos and private residences.

We are a family owned company and are proud to offer you the best quality available in craftsmanship and materials.

Owner Ernie Apodaca is true native of the West. He is a Blackfeet Indian from Browning, Montana, by way of Seattle. "My background influences me on a daily basis," says Ernie, and it shows in his work.

Northwest Native Designs hand-builds original upholstered furniture in their unique designs: oversized chairs and couches, ottomans, pillows, and leather throws.

In addition to leather, he employs loom-state chenilles, Italian suedes, and ethnic woven fabrics. What makes their work instantly recognizable is the addition of hand-tooled leather, wood carvings that might resemble totem poles, and hand-painted western scenes or Native American designs.

"Each piece shares a story of the tribe's legends and lore," says Ernie. A club chair bears northwestern tribal designs, a wing chair is painted with a bald eagle, or perhaps a medicine wheel with horses representing the four directions. A love seat might be embellished with a design centered around peace pipes.

"These pipes are used not just to end conflict," explains Ernie, "but to send prayers and offerings to the Great Spirit in the smoke from the tobacco."

Ernie has 25 years in the upholstery business, but ... Northwest Native Designs was the result of a tragic fire. Recalls Ernie, "Inspiration came in the form of a vision to share the beauty and meaning of Native American history with others." This inspiration also included the birth of "Miracle" the white buffalo in August, 1994. White buffaloes are especially significant spiritual events in plains culture.

Ernie also realized that if successful he could provide employment to Native Americans on the reservations while encouraging the promulgation of various tribes' cultural history.

His work has since expanded to include scenic paintings and wildlife and hand-tooled leather; in addition to reinterpreting the Native experience, they now pay homage to the West itself.

Our thanks to Chase Ewald for these words.
Chase Ewald is an editor for Cowboys and Indians Magazine.
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