Star of Bethlehem
Odawa, Agosatown, Leelanau County, Michigan
66" x 75”
MSUM 6814.1; Gift of Florence L. Hanes
Photo by Doug Elbinger, all rights reseved by the
Michigan State University Museum
According to James M. McClurken, co-author with James A. Clifton
and George L. Cornell, of People of the Three Fires: The Ottawa,
Potawatomi, and Ojibway of Michigan, the star and floral motifs
exhibited in this quilt are typical of components of Ottawa designs.
Each square and triangle formed against the white background by
the center star is filled with floral designs that embellish the
central design and mimic designs depicted in earlier porcupine quill
work and beaded pieces of the same region. It is probable that Native
Americans began quilting after the Grand Traverse Mission period;
the first person who was recorded to have had furniture in his home,
and thus have a need for domestic furnishings such as quilts, was
Agosa, who lived on Old Mission penninsula during the mid 1840s.
The donor, Florence Lackie Hanes, writes that her father, Walter
Lackie, acquired it "as a trade for some farm goods. Always
treasured by the family, and never used [it is] just called the
Indian Quilt." The quiltmaker was known to the family as Mrs.
Ogahmahgegedo, but further research has revealed that she may also
have been known as Catherine or Jenny Steele. She lived in a settlement
known as Ahgosatown, located between Omena and Northport, Michigan.
Quilts: 150 Years of a Textile Tradition