Michigan Quilt Project
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Quilts and Human Rights

Quilts Honor Champions For Human Rights, cont.

Honor the First Nations
Pat Courtney Gold
Scappoose, Oregon
Cotton with polyester batting
69" x 85"
Collection of Michigan State University Museum
Photo by Doug Elbinger, all rights reserved

Wasco artist Gold, a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts’ 2007 National Heritage Fellowship Award, says of this quilt, "I wanted to do a quilt to represent various tribal entities throughout the United States. I could not include all nations, and it was hard picking the art forms on this quilt. Each block represents a different tribal art and/or region. I especially wanted to show respect for the elders in a block. I chose the clothing style during transition from the 'traditional ways' to the 'white man' ways. I felt this was a painful time in tribal history, and the strength of the generation was passed to us. I left her face undefined, so that as we look at her, we will each see our grandmothers.Another strong symbol is the turtle. I did put various herbs in it, as do many tribes. The circle of life is whole. I varied it by putting a golden halo around it. It displays the reverence as do the halos around the Christian figures."

The quilt includes: wood mask (Iroquois); beaded flower (Plateau); whale (Alaska); basket design (Plateau); rabbit (Southwest); quote (Iroquois); weaving modern twill; petroglyph (Southwest); Yei figure (Navajo); cornhusk (Nez Perce); quote (Nez Perce), horse (Plains); hand (U.S.); drum (Plains); frog (Northwest); quote (Shawnee); petroglyph (Wasco); quail (Southwest); circle of life (U.S.); elder (U.S.); quote (Cherokee); basket figure (Wasco); turtle (Midwest); salmon (Northwest); bird (Pueblo); and shield (Alaska).


Deonna Todd Green was interviewed by Marsha MacDowell on January 21, 2008 at the Michigan State University Museum. On that day, the Quilts and Human Rights exhibit was part of a campus-wide celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.

Voices of Freedom
Deonna Todd Green
Remus, Michigan
Cotton with polyester filling; hand quilted
48" x 48"
Collection of Michigan State University Museum, gift of the artist.
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong, all rights reserved

Each of the 49 blocks in this quilt is devoted to a different figure important in African-American history and includes an embroidered portrait, the person's name, their birth/death date, and a note about their accomplishment. The embroidery is in green, red, and black embroidery floss—the colors of the Pan African Flag. This flag originally created as the official banner of the African Race by the members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and African Communities League. It was formally adopted by UNIA in article 39 of the Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World on August 13, 1920 during their convention held in New York City. The flag and the colors became an African nationalist symbol for the liberation of African people everywhere.


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