Waccamaw Siouan Culture

Quilting Tradition

 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. 

Quilting History


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. 

Talking Circle Vision

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.

Talking Circles that will be presented:

  • Elder Circle:  Bring elders together to share tribal history for a means or recording and teaching.  Healing among our people.  This circle would  be used as an inter-generational conversation between our elders and youth.  The elders would share stories and teach our youth their ways.  Also during this time the elders may teach quilting, beading or other crafts to be passed down to future generations.
  • Youth Circles:  Bring youth together in a safe environment, conducive to healing and restoration.  These circles will be used to promote strong, emotionally healthy native students and individuals who are struggling with drugs, alcohol and everyday conflicts that our Native Youth are facing today.
  • Cultural Circles:  These circles shall be used to promote cohesiveness among the people through the teaching of Pow Wow etiquette, teaching native dances, drumming, singing, beading and crafting.  This circle is planned to promote pride and instill longevity through these teachings.
  • Empowerment Circle:  Bring all the women of the tribe together to share in a safe environment.  The purpose of this circle is to empower our women to be the successful, strong women that we are called to be.  To encourage them in the area of education in the workforce.  This circle will be established as a means of empowering our young women toward areas of success by encouragement through this established support group.

(Date for these talking circles will be posted on our Events Calendar.