NWIC students, community show off Native American artwork on quilts in Tulalip

  • Tuesday, February 11, 2020 5:07pm
  • Life

TULALIP – Styles of Native American artwork from across the country are on display on quilts at Tulalip through Thursday.

A couple-dozen quilts done by community members and students from Northwest Indian College are on display. The show is free and goes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Tulalip Administration Building, 6406 Marine Drive. A free raffle for a quilt is available to attendees.

Colette Keith, Tulalip site manager for the accredited NWIC that is open to everyone, said students researched tribes across the nation. The quilt work reflects those five regions: Coast Salish, Southwest, Plains, Seminole and Northeast.

Tulalip is one of six sites for the NWIC, based in Bellingham. Keith said students can get the same kind of degrees offered at Everett Community College or the University of Washington, except classes are smaller.

“It’s super small. Six is a big class. We’re very hands on,” she said, adding there are up to 30 students in the entire Tulalip branch of NWIC.

NWIC is the only Native American college in the four-state region of Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho. She said costs are comparable to other colleges.

Keith said the quilting class is popular not only with students but also the public. Any community member can use the sewing project room and even receive fabric for free.

Quilts on display are made by artists of various ages. Cara Jo Retasket, 10, is showing the third one she’s ever made. The featured quilter is Luella Stevens, who is 87.

Keith, who has been quilting for 30 years, has three on display, including her first one in the Salish style. Even though she’s been doing it for a while, Keith doesn’t consider herself an expert. “I have too short of an attention span,” she said. “It takes me forever.”

Keith, who is from South Dakota, is most knowledgeable about “Star” quilts as she is from the Plains Lakota tribe. She said quilts are given as gifts at most ceremonies, including weddings, births and memorials.

Even though she’s Tulalip, NWIC student Tayna Renee Greene says in the show’s program that, “I can relate to the Morning Star Quilt Pattern as it reveals our resilience as tribal members to adapt to socio-political changes rather than assimilate.”

Deb Hanson, the quilting instructor, also has one on display that is different from all the rest as she encourages students to think out of the box in their work.

The show is called “Humble Stitches, Generous Threads – Quilts from Indian Country.” Other locals whose artwork is in the show include Bonnie Follestad, Misty Flores and Denise Gail Mitchell.


Certificated programs: Computer Repair Technician; Construction Trades; Individualized Studies; Initial Early Childhood Education; Tribal Casino Management; and Tribal Museum Studies.

Associate degrees: Business and Entrepreneurship; Public and Tribal Administration; Early Childhood Education; Chemical Dependency Studies; General Studies direct transfer; and Life Sciences.

Bachelor’s degrees: Native Environmental Studies; Native Studies Leadership; Community Advocates and Responsive Education in Human Services; and Tribal Governance and Business Management.

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