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quilts and textiles


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To Honor and Comfort Resource Kit
To Honor and Comfort comes with a trunk whose content can be used in a variety of ways. If you plan on having a resource room with the exhibit, items can be used in that area. They can also be used in planning educational programming on-site. Part or all of the kit contents can also be loaned to local schools or other groups that may be attending the exhibit.


Video: Takini: A Week to Remember
Video: Native American Culture: Quilts/ Naming Ceremony; Quilts/ Basketball
Video: Hopi Quilts

Book: Children of the Circle, Hungry Wolf, Adolf and Star
Book: Tutu and the Ulu Tree, Goforth, Sandra L.
Book: Song of the Wild Violets, Thompson, Peggy
Book: The Ojibway Creation Story, Banai, Edward Benton
Book: To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions, MacDowell and Dewhurst, eds.(Also available to purchase on consignment for museum stores.)

Map: Indian Nations

Felt boards (2)

Two sets of felt pieces, each containing: 9 white squares; 9 red squares; 9 yellow squares;
9 black squares; 9 red Triangles; 9 yellow triangles; 9 white triangles; 9 black triangles

3 clipboards (for use with Educational activity sheets)

1 red binder (for completed drawings)
1 black binder (for visitor comments)
1 white binder (supplementary information on Hawaiian quilts)

Two bulletin boards and thumb tacks for posting local Native Quilting News items and Honor Quilt Blocks that guests have created.

Educator Information packet: Includes introductory information plus 4 lessons and 4 color cards with images of quilts used in lessons. Some of the quilts are not included in this version of the traveling exhibit, but the lessons can still be used in conjunction with the color cards.

Educational Activities packet: Contains additional lessons which can be used in conjunction with color cards above and laminated photos of quilt. Activity Sheets in this packet may be duplicated for use with clip boards.

10 laminated photos to be used with classroom activities: Baseball Star Quilt; Bright Star Quilt; Crazy Star Quilt; Harvey Walking Eagle's Funeral; Horse Chief's Blanket Quilt; NAMES Project Quilt; Tree of Peace; Tree of Peace Saves the Earth; Turtle Mountain Chippewa Heritage Quilt; and Wasco Button Blanket Quilt.

Hands-on use quilt: Imogene Tewa (Moencopi Reed Clan, Hopi Indian Reservation), "Kastina Quilt."

Four text panels can be used in a Resource area or in the exhibit.

What is a Quilt?
Basically a quilt is usually a square - or rectangle-shaped textile made by sewing three --but sometimes just two-- layers of fabric together. The variations on how this basic form is constructed are seemingly endless.

The top might be made of one, two, or many types of fabrics patched, pieced, or appliqued together. Cloth might be homemade or purchased specifically for the quilt or recycled fabrics from other sources such as feed sacks, curtains, worn clothing or bedding.

The filling or middle layer --if there even is one-- might be made of unginned cotton, ginned cotton, wool, manufactured batting of cotton or cotton/polyester, or polyester. The filling might even be made of an old blanket or quilt.

The top, middle, and backing layers of cloth might be stitched together only at the edges, by quilting stitches, or bits of string or yarn tied periodically across the surface. The quilting stitches or quilting patterns can be simple or elaborate, in geometric or figurative designs, and based on commercially available, borrowed, or adapted, or learned from another quilter, or created by the quilter him or herself.

Native Words for Quilts and Quilting
sha tzun or bah tah
tekane kahnion ne ashire
onwinja pacisap
da the ga
dot-go gwatch i gun
hi duck eeg igeh
kuiki kapa
Literal Translation
heavier and thicker than blanket
blanket that has been sewn
blanket or quilt
pieced quilt or quilted blanket
blanket, quilt, or cover
to make blanket or quilt
to do quilting
the act of quilting
quilting stitches
quilt or blanket
quilting a blanket
In many Native languages the word for quilt is the same for cover or blanket. Many Native people refer to quilts as blankets in English. Covers, soogans, and throws are other words used to describe quilts.

Rita Corbiere (Ojibway) of Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada wants to know "Ki bi duck eeg igeh nuh?" ("Do you do quilting?")
Making a Hawaiian Quilt
The first steps of making a Hawaiian quilt are very much like cutting a snowflake out of paper. The quilter begins by placing his or her paper pattern (lau) on fabric folded in eighths and then cutting through all the layers.

The quilter unfolds the cut cloth and then appliques it onto the center of a foundation fabric (kahua) of usually contrasting color. This makes the top of the quilt to which is added a backing or bottom fabric (pili) with the padding or batting (pulu) in between.

The three layers are then stitched together with quilting stitches (kuiki lau) which begin from the center (piko) of the quilt and move outward to the edges of the quilt, following the contours of the appliqued design. Because the lines of quilting stitches are so close to each other, Hawaiian quilts usually take much longer than other types of quilts to make.
Photo of Kapa Pohopoho quilt
Kapa Pohopoho (scrap quilt)
Members of Ka Hui Kapa Apana O Waimea
(Native Hawaiians and others)
Waimea, Hawaii
70" wide x 70" long
Collection of Michigan State University Museum.
Photo: Elbinger Studios, Inc.

This quilt only appears in the exhibit as an image on a text panel.

Sitting/Activity Circle
"The first Grandfather pointed to an aw-kik' (vessel) that was colored with a cloth made of four different colors. Each color sttod for one of the Four Directions. The Grandfather said, "Of these colors, mis-skwa' (red) stands for the South. Muk-a-day' (black) stands for the West. Wa-bish-ka' (white) stands for the North. And o-za-wahn' (yellow) stands for the East. These colors represent the four races of man that the Creator place on the Earth." -- Edward Benton Banai

(The Mishomis Book: The Voice of the Ojibway, St. Paul, Minnesota: Red School House, 1988)

The exhibit comes with 4 quarter circles of carpet (one each of red, yellow, black and white) to create the Sitting/Activity Circle.

Our Thanks
This exhibition is a smaller version of one originally created as a collaboration of the Michigan State University Museum with the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, and additional assistance from Atlatl. The work of those who helped create the original exhibit is often reflected in this version and we are grateful for their contributions.

MSUM Exhibition Team
Marsha MacDowell, Project Director and Co-Curator
C. Kurt Dewhurst, Co-Curator
Laurie Anderson & Marie Gile, Research Curatorial Assistants
Lynne Swanson, Cultural Collections Manager
Melanie Atkinson, Jill Crane, Beth Donaldson, Mary Worrall and Kate Edgar, Collection Assistants
Pearl Yee Wong, Collections Assistant and Photographer
Brian Kirschensteiner, Traveling Exhibit Designer
Kristine Morrissey, Curriculum Materials Contributor
Kathryn VanDeCar, Research Assistant
Julie Levy-Westin, Exhibit Technical Project Manager
Melinda Hamilton, Graphic Designer
Michele Beltran, Traveling Exhibition Coordinator
Pam Martell, Independent Education Curriculum Consultant
Additional Assitance provided by Latricia Horstman, Dustin O'Connor, Susan Krouse, Elizabeth Kimewon, LaNeysa Harris-Featherstone, Jim McClurken, Frank Ettawageshik, Minnie Wabanimkee, Michele Beltran, Susan Russell, Marclay Crampton, and Cindy Scarlett.

Traveling Exhibit Advisory Group
Karen Brockman, Vickie Cornelius, Marclay Crampton, Jill Dixon, Sue Ellen Dow, Mae Harris, Tom Hill, Helen Hoskins, Kate Jackson, Keevin Lewis, Pam Martell, Eraina Palmer, Molly Perry, Laura Quackenbush, Carla Roberts, Bob Teske, Darrell "Curley" Youpee, Ella Louise Weaver, Cameron Wood, and Margaret Wood.

NMAI Exhibition Team
Jim Volkert, Project Director
Danyelle Means, Project Manager
Cecile Ganteaume, Content Advisor
Tanya Thrasher, Content Advisor
Keevin Lewis, Community Services Coordinator
Elizabeth K. Gische, Script Editor
Peter Brill, Exhibition Designer
Katherine Fogden, Photographer
Robert Mastrangelo, Video Coordinator
Dan Davis, Audio Coordinator
Shawn Termin, Curriculum Consultant
Johanna Gorelick, Curriculum Coordinator

Audio/Visual Production
Jefferey Own Jones
Theater Technology, Inc.
John Gromada Sound Design

Three consultants in particular provided extraordinary contributions to this project: Margaret Wood, Fred Nawhoosky, and Linda Moriarity.

Special thanks to Atlatl; Brockton High School; St. Francis Indian School; Akwesasne Freedom School; The Museum at Warm Springs; Oneida Nation Museum; Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum; Museum of New Mexico Press; and all the Native quilters, whose work and words are truly inspiring.

Major funding for this exhibition was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund.

Additional support provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Pew Charitable Trust Gatherings and Conferences Program administered by the Fund for Folk Culture, Jeffrey and Kitty Cole, and the following MSU units: MSU All-University Research Initiation Grant, Office of the Provost, and Native American Institute.

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