The Star Quilters of the Cheyenne River Reservation come from diverse backgrounds and approach quilt making from varying perspectives. Traditionally, star quilts replaced the buffalo robe when the buffalo no longer roamed the plains. The star quilt design represents the Morning Star, and the Greeting of a New Day. Today, star quilts are used for ceremonies and gift giving. The women create these quilts as a way of life, and as a way to help support their families.
Recently, the Sioux YMCA in Dupree, South Dakota received a grant from the John T. Vucurevich Foundation for an Entrepreneurial Position. By providing a venue for quilters to sell their star quilts to the public, the Sioux YMCA helps local artisans financially support their family household. The project also addresses the problems the people on the reservation face on a daily basis. Since artists sometimes travel great distances for supplies, much of the fabric is donated by local fabric shops.
Gloria Traversie, an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, is a renowned quilter. Her star quilts have been exhibited at the Sioux Indian Museum and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Her collectible star quilts are a joy to own.
Barbara Dupris, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Reservation, is an accomplished quilter. A Lakota woman, she shared her star quilting talent as an instructor, and incorporates traditional designs, like the horse & buffalo, into her quilts. Her skills, and willingness to share her talents have made a definite impact on the Cheyenne River Reservation.
Wynema Dupris, an enrolled member of the Navajo Tribe, is a talented quilt maker. Wynema is married to Dana Dupris, and her sister-in-law is Barbara Dupris. Wynema's family values reflect the Lakota lifestyle. She was taught to make quilts at an early age and she brings a unique quality of design, color and fabric choices to her quilts. Wynema continues to share her talent by teaching classes at the Sioux YMCA.
Una (Ahnna) Howe is a Star Quilter on the Cheyenne River Reservation. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), and was a teacher for the local college for 11 years, and taught star quilting and doll making classes for the Sioux YMCA. Una's love of sewing has been transposed into her quilting. Her unique use of fabric and use of multi layering gives her star quilts a one of a kind style. Una loves to match the fabric to the person she is making her quilts for.
Prices of work for sale can be obtained by contacting The Journey Museum Store at (605) 394-2201. After the exhibit closes contact the Sioux YMCA at PO Box 218, Dupree, SD 57623; (605) 365-5232.
Star Quilts from the Cheyenne River Reservation
100% cotton, 93" x 103"
©2008 Una (Ahnaa) Howe (Mniconjou)
Council Meeting, 2009
100% cotton, hand quilted, 87" x 95"
©2009 Barbara Dupris (Mniconjou)
Baby Quilt, 2009
100% cotton, hand quilted, 44" x 44"
©2009 Wynema Dupris (Navajo)