One-of-a-kind handmade Lakota Star Quilt (infant size)
Hand cut diamonds pieced into an eight-point star. Machine quilted, roughly 47'x47'.
About the artist: Twila Emme is a Sicangu Lakota quiltmaker from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. She has been making quilts for many years.
What is a Star Quilt? Star Quilts (Wičaȟpi Owiŋža) are special handcrafted quilts made by Lakota people, and are given as gifts to mark significant life events, such as graduation or the birth of a child. These quilts symbolize the Lakota values of honor and generosity.
Where did Star Quilts come from? Traditionally, a buffalo hide would be given to a Lakota person by draping it around their shoulders. This was done to honor warriors after a battle, at funerals to honor the close relatives of someone who had passed on, and more.
In the 1800's, the United States government sought to eliminate Indigenous peoples in order to expand westward. One of the ways that the U.S. government did this was a systematic attempt to exterminate the buffalo, which were integral to the Lakota people's survival and way of life. In his 1872 annual report, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Columbus Delano wrote, "The rapid disappearance of game from the former hunting-grounds must operate largely in favor of our efforts to confine the Indians to smaller areas, and compel them to abandon their nomadic customs." Tens of millions of buffalo once roamed the North America, and by the year 1893, less than 400 buffalo were left in the wild.
Despite the mass killing of the buffalo and other violent attempts to eliminate Indigenous peoples and their ways of life, the Lakota have protected and preserved their culture. In place of buffalo hides, the Lakota created Star Quilts to use for gift-giving ceremonies and celebrations. The concentric eight-point star design is inspired by the Morning Star, the last brightest star seen in the eastern sky before sunrise.
What does concentric mean? Concentric is an adjective that describes a pattern of shapes with the same center, with the larger shapes layered around the smaller ones. You may guess the significance of the concentric pattern of Star Quilts after reading the words of Black Elk, a Lakota medicine man:
"Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. Both the sun and the moon are round, and both come forth and go down again in a circle. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our tipis were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation's hoop, where the Creator meant for us to hatch our children." - Heȟaka Sapa (Black Elk), from Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt
Please note that Lakota Made has a very limited quantity of Star Quilts available for purchase. Each quilt is handmade with unique colors, and once a quilt is sold it will not be remade or restocked.