by Misha Saeedpour
On Monday, April 15th students and faculty joined Dr. Robbie Pinter in McWhorter Hall 102 for the English Department’s final installation of the Spring Speakers Series. Dr. Pinter’s lecture focused on the importance of quilting within the Lakota Sioux tribes and how one can analyze their inception, development, and rhetoric as a way to further learn the stories of the tribe’s women. She sees quilts as a metaphor for life – the top layer representing artistic expression, the second representing a filler layer in life, and the third layer representing a durable foundation.
While the Lakota women already knew how to sew and work with textiles, it was the arrival of European missionaries in the 1900s that taught them to sew using European styles. Lakota quilts are often presented as symbolic gifts to remember loved ones or represent honor, as well as to mark important moments in life like marriage and childbirth. Quilting quickly became an important part of the Lakota cultural practice because it not only served as a way for them to bring money into their homes, but also as a way for them to find their voices and share their stories.
After Dr. Pinter’s presentation there was a brief Q&A session for students and faculty who wanted to dive deeper into the history of Lakota quilting.