Michigan Quilt Project
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North American Indian and Native Hawaiian Quilt Collection

Native Quilters' Gathering Quilt
Native American Quilters (see below)
Cotton with polyester filling
74" x 88”
MSUM 1997:69.1
Photo by Doug Elbinger, all rights reseved by the Michigan State University Museum

The blocks are listed left to right:
Row 1:
Block 1. "Eagle in Four Directions" by Nancy Crone Navanjo. "The Eagle has love for everyone. Eagle carries prayers to the creator. All things are sacred. All life is one. Eagle soars as our spirits can when we are in harmony, part of the whole."
Block 2. "Navajo Moon Block" by Margaret Wood, Phoenix, Arizona. "In Navajo mythology, the moon and sun are described as having the same round face with horns."
3. "Ribbon Shirt Boy" by Myrna L. Courtney, Warm Springs, Oregon, Wasco Tribe. "Represents ribbon shirts in our area."
4. "Lucy's Legacy: Roots and Wings" by Loyce Reifel Anderson, Sicangu (Brul'e) Lakota. "The picture of my Grandmother, Lily Lucy Burning Breast Reifel, was taken during her mid 30's. She was a full-blood Lakota and lived in the Cut Meat/Parmalee area of the rosebud Reservation in Sout Dakota. I used the circle, the Lakota symbol of life, as the roots with the spokes, or wings, radiating from it as paths leading away. But yet, coming back to tradition and family. The Seminole piecing of the border gives the appearance of tipis from where these bonds of family have come. Lucy was a quilter and she would raise a white flag near her house to let others know that there would be a quilting session."
Row 2:
Block 1. "Bear Paw with the Medicine Wheel in the Center" by Alice Olsen Williams, Curve Lake First Nation, Ontario, Canada. "We are thankful for the gifts of Life and the Creation. Miigwech. All our Relations."
Block 2."Traditional Evening Star" by Shirley M. Grady (lead Woman). Three affiliated tribes - Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikava. Ft. Berthold Indian Reservation, New Town, North Dakota. "This block represents the colorful stars that appear at night."
Block 3. "Gorget design etched on a shell" by Jimmie Fife Stewart, Muscogee (Creek) Washington, Oklahoma. "Seldom were nature designs used on the shells."
Block 4. "Eagle Mother and Child" by Sheree 'Peachy' Bonaparte, Akwesane Mohawk. "After many teachings and much encouragement the Eagle daughter or son is ready to fly. This one is dedicated to Kaneratons and all her brothers and sisters. Love..."
Row 3:
Block 1. "Calling Loon" by Rita Lu. Corbiere, Wikwemikong, Ontario, Canada. "The loon has a call that sounds like Swiss yodeling. The sound can lull you to sleep, when camping by a Northern Lake."
Block 2. "Kukui Nut" by Gussie Bento, Honolulu, Hawaii. "Patterned after a leaf and nut of the kukui tree. This tree was important to the Hawaiian people as it provided them food, medicine and as a light source."
Block 3. "'Northern Edge" by Paula J. White, Chippewa/Bena, Minnesota.
Block 4. "Evening Star" by Marlene Sekaquaptewa, Bacaui Village, Hotevilla, Arizona, Hopi Tribe. "The star is the first one seen after the colorful sunset. For me it is always special to see when I'm driving along the mesas."
Row 4:
Block 1. "Feathered Star" by Ollie Napesni, Rosebud Indian Reservation, Sicangu Oyate, St. Francis, South Dakota. "The Feathered Star design represents the Morning Star."
Block 2. "She Who Watches the Two Ways" by B.K. Courtney, Wasco-Tlingit, Warm Springs, Oregon. "Hand/cut-printed silk-screen panel of a sally bag weaving design. The dual forces of "Good and Bad" are always at conflict. SWW provides the wisdom of choices, or lack of wisdom!!!"
Block 3. "Living is more than Existence" by Lula Red Cloud, Oglala Lakota, Pine Ridge, South Dakota. "From energy flows life and you can make it creative or stay with just plain existence."
Block 4. Spool block by Mary Ann Henio. "To all the quilters, you have encouraged me to be kind and caring for one another, and thanks to Michigan State (MSU) to invite me."
Row 5:
Block 1. Radiant Star by Judy Toppings, Ojibwe-Anishinabe, White Earth Reservation. "This piece is a sun print of the star the I drew on paper then made a transparency of to transfer to treated fabric. This is the process I used for new articles on the quilt, '1992-1996 News from Native America.'"
Block 2. Osage Tail Piece Block by Mary Bighorse, Osage-Wah-Sha'she. "This is a man's design. It is usually on the tail piece of the Osage straight dance suit. The diamond designs are men patterns. This is the first design I did in the diamond design. From this I have advanced to thirteen ribbons. This design was taught to me by my aunts, Georgean Ribbonsors, Genie Torney Louise Red Corn. And my grandmother and grandfather taught them. Four generations."
Block 3. "Free Form" by Conrad House, Dineg (Navajo)/Oneida, St. Michaels, Arizona. "Corn stalk, Tzodzix (Mt. Taylor), Yellow Evening Twilight Clouds, Lightning, bird all come into being. Quitting for me is just another form of drawing."
20. "Ulu-Hawaiian Breadfruit" by Harriet Soong, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. "The Breadfruit is a popular quilt pattern. It is said if your first quilt is a breadfruit you will always quilt. Aloha punehana (warm)."

From To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions

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