Louie Gong is an educator, activist, and artist who was raised by his grandparents in the Nooksack tribal community. He is the past President of MAVIN, co-developer of the Mixed Heritage Center, and a former child and family therapist. Louie is also the founder of Eighth Generation, through which he merges traditional Coast Salish art and icons from popular culture to make strong statements about identity, such as his highly sought-after, hand-drawn custom shoes. Louie’s latest creation is called “Mockups”, a DIY art toy based on his work with youth and his desire to a make the experience of personalizing a pair of shoes more accessible.
Louie is proud to have represented his family and community through keynote level presentations and custom shoe workshops around the world, as well as in media such as NBC Nightly News, The New York Times, MSNBC.com, and Indian Country Today. His unique merger of art and activism is the subject of UNRESERVED: the Work of Louie Gong, a Longhouse Media film that was selected to screen at prestigious film festivals around the world, including Festival De Cannes and National Geographic’s All Roads Film Festival.
In 2012, Louie began an artistic partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian called Design Yourself: I AM NMAI, and a collaboration with Manitobah Mukluks that led to the “LG Gatherer”, a limited edition boot that has already sold out of it’s first 3 runs.
Louie was recently honored by being named to Native Max Magazine’s list of the “Top 10 Inspirational Native’s: Past and Present” and received the Seattle Indian Health Board’s Adeline Garcia’s Community Service Award, through which the nation’s largest Urban Indian Health Clinic recognizes community leaders for volunteer service.