Quilting is one of many crafting techniques that Native Americans borrowed from European traditions and adapted into something unique to our culture. The Need to survive through barter and public work was probably the bridge that brought quilting to our tribe...a craft that meshed easily with women's work to provide bedding and domestic items for family use.
During 1993, in an effort to document and to honor the quilts and quilters of our Native community work began on a documentary, Waccamaw Siouan Quilters, Piecing the Past and Future:/ Through the efforts of Jill Hemming, a NC Folklorist from Chapel Hill, who assisted tribal members Brenda Moore and Shirley Freeman with the project and through funding from the NC Arts Council the next three years led to documentation of over eighty quilts, a public exhibit and demonstration at the Durham Festival for the Eno, the honoring of lifetime quilter Elizabeth Graham Jacobs with a prestigious North Carolina Folk Heritage Award and the publishing of the Waccamaw Siouan quilt documentation. All of this led to a chapter "The Craft of Identity: Quilting Traditions of the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe" was published in 1997 in the national publication of "To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions".
Interest grew in extending this project to include other tribes in North Carolina. Collaborative efforts with Carol Brewington, who is Coharie and Waccamaw Siouan, United Tribes of North Carolina, the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs, the Coharie Inter-Tribal Organization, and the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe, the 1st Annual Native American Quilt Show was held during the 1997 North Carolina Indian Unity Conference.
There is a need for the establishment of Talking Circles within our tribal community. Issues of diabetes in our youth and adults, obesity, high blood pressures, heart problems and gallbladder removals with our youth are just some of the health problems facing our tribe. The establishment of Talking Circles will be for healing and cultural enrichment. Peace keeping and Talking Circles are a structured process used to bring people together to better understand one another, build and strengthen bonds and solve community problems. Talking Circles and Peacekeeping circles provide a way for people to have conversations and maintain a healthy community. Through circle process we share our stories, learn about ourselves, each other and gain better understanding of our people. Circles can be used for learning and practicing communication skills, negotiating, community building, conflict resolution, talking about specific issues, staff and youth team building, staff meetings, to develop community standards for how people work and live together, and problem solving.
(Dates for these talking circles will be posted in the near future.)