By Shari Pierce
Special to The PREVIEW
Nii’ Da’ Ba’ Hii Ba’ Hane’ translates to “Warrior Story.”
This quilt was begun in November 2014 and completed in March 2015.
The first showing of “Warrior Story” was at Phoenix’s Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market in March, where it was awarded first place in the textiles category.
Navajo quilter Susan Hudson creates her quilts to honor “all of our grandmothers who were sent to the boarding schools.”
Most recently, Hudson was awarded the Best of Show prize at the 23rd annual Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival in Indianapolis for her “Warrior Story” quilt. This show was held in June of 2015.
The idea for this quilt came to Hudson in a dream and she translated it to fabric.
“This comes from my heart. This comes from my dreams. This comes from the Great Spirit. This comes from my spirit helpers and mostly my ancestors, all of those brave, brave women,” she said.
“Warrior Story” represents the history of her people from 1492.
The wall in the quilt is based on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. Some of the names depicted on the wall in the quilt are Susan’s ancestors.
Sets of figures on the quilt tell stories of the people in the present meeting people of the past.
One set of figures shows a veteran who was wounded in the war and lost his legs. The blanket draped on his legs is representative of the flags that drape the coffins of our fallen soldiers. The wheels on the wheelchair of this veteran are peace symbols, and the veteran is saluting his comrade who was killed in the war. The emblem on the veteran’s hat is from American Horse’s Top Hat, which is at the Red Cloud Indian School.
Another figure represents anyone that can relate to the quilt. The figure only has one leg. It represents that our soldiers came home missing something in them — whether it was a limb, pieces of their heart or pieces of their spirit. It is to open up a conversation and maybe to help them start the healing, to cry or to realize they are not alone.
This quilt is on display here in Pagosa Springs at the Pagosa Springs History Museum. It is part of a special display of five of Hudson’s quilts. Each quilt tells a remarkable story and they are all emotionally moving.
The public is invited to view these quilts along with displays of Pagosa Springs’ past. Admission to the museum is free.
The museum opens daily at 9 a.m. through mid-September. To allow time to visit the exhibits, last entry to the museum is at 4:30 p.m., with the doors closing at 5 p.m. sharp.
The museum is located at 96 Pagosa St., right next to the San Juan River on the east end of town.
While there is no charge to visit the museum, donations to offset expenses are greatly appreciated. The San Juan Historical Society operates the museum and must raise all funds necessary to pay utilities, insurance, employees and maintenance. Your donations are greatly appreciated.
You can learn more about the Pagosa Springs History Museum and Susan Hudson’s quilts by visiting PagosaMuseum.org.