Michigan Quilt Project
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North American Indian and Native Hawaiian Quilt Collection

Veteran's Quilt
Ollie Napesni (Rosebud Sioux)
St. Francis, South Dakota
78" x 84"
Cotton/polyester with polyester filling
MSU Museum Accession 1996:110.1
Photo by Doug Elbinger, all rights reserved by MSU Museum

Ollie Napesni, of St. Francis, South Dakota, created this “Veteran’s Quilt” as one of the many honors accorded by Native communities to military veterans when they return from the service. In Sioux communities, veteran’s quilts are usually made of red, white, and blue cloth and often incorporate eagles and the stars and stripes of the American flag.

Photo by Katherine Fogden, all rights reserved by Michigan State University Museum

Napesni has made more than four hundred quilts, many of them in the star
pattern. She remembers seeing her first star quilt at a fair parade when she was only six or seven years old:

They had this big fair...in August…We camped, and so I was in a tent looking out you know, sitting on a wagon seat there looking out and the parade was going by and here toward the last a covered wagon went by and here it had this quilt on there. That was the first time I saw a star quilt...it had diamonds that were really small and I never did forget that.

Excerpted from To Honor and Comforts: Native Quilting Traditions, Marsha MacDowell and Kurt Dewhurst, ed.

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