Monday, February 16, 2009

Unusual Quilt Commission - Wampum

I had an unusual request this week, to recreate a very old Keetoowah (Cherokee) Wampum Belt. The 7 sacred wampum belts of the Keetoowah are shown in the old 1916 photograph at right. This is the last time they were allowed to be photographed. The grandson of Redbird Smith asked me if I could make these out of fabric, after viewing my quilt exhibit at our Winter Faculty Art Show. I agreed, and today I made a wampum belt in the style of the smallest one on the left, hanging on the tent in the photo.

It was awe inspiring to know that these very important, and very old traditional spiritual objects are still around, though I am told they are hidden away. In some small way, by re-creating these in a form that can be shown, I feel like I am participating in the survival of something very sacred.

You just never know where quilting will lead you!!

Above is one of Nighthawk Keetoowah Chief Redbird Smith’s sons
displaying the Sacred Keetoowah Wampum Belts, which tell the story
of the Keetoowah People and the laws from the Creator.


  1. Wow, what an interesting project to work on. I love the mix of history and quilting. This is certainly historical. Wouldn't it be great to see the originals?

  2. Great Work! Congratulations


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