Quilt Exhibit Opens at Aktá Lakota Museum
“The Quilt – Owíŋža” opened the week of June 13 at the Alta Lakota Museum. The new exhibit features quilts from 1893 to contemporary that are in the museum’s private collection.
These quilts are a testament to the powerful tradition, aesthetic, artisanship and resiliency of the Lakota culture. When the buffalo was at the center of Lakota life, beautifully decorated hides, often with striking circular patterns, were common. As colonialism brought about the near-extinction of the buffalo, the Lakota turned to quilt making to replace many of the functions — both utilitarian and ceremonial — that hides performed.
The star quilt held special appeal because of its circular pattern and rhythmic repetition. “Everything the power of the world does is done in a circle,” said Lakota spiritual leader Black Elk, expressing the centrality of the circle to Lakota thought. Today the star quilt is often the centerpiece in Lakota celebrations and ceremonies.