FREE Shipping $40+


Sewing & Survival


Sewing & Survival

Native American Quilts from 1880-2022


By Teresa Duryea Wong
  • 172 pages
  • Paperback
  • 9” x 11”
  • Over 60 quilts beautifully reproduced.
  • $4.00 from every book sale will be donated to the American Indian College Fund, a 501(c)(3).
  • June Book Special: Get 10% off and free shipping when you bundle Sewing & Survival and Common Threads here.
About the book

Indigenous Americans have been sewing, weaving, and making pottery and other crafts for thousands of years. Starting in the late 1800s, a fascinating shift took place as some makers turned their needle skills to quilting. To uncover the story of how quilting arts first took hold in the 19th century requires a look back at a tumultuous period of American history to a time when Native American culture was under attack. Indigenous lands were taken away, missionaries swarmed onto reservations, children were forced into off-reservation boarding schools, and there were countless injustices forced on Native individuals. Remarkably, in spite of this chaos, quilting emerged as a preferred form of needlearts, and this book will explain how that transformation happened.

Sewing & Survival is a thoroughly researched narrative based on original sources, diaries, personal letters, and other notes highlighting Native American voices. While quilting skills were forced on some women, others came to quilting willingly. Equally compelling is the fact that quilting remains popular in Native communities today, and in fact, quilts are the cornerstone of Indigenous give-away traditions. In addition, numerous makers have turned their artistic talent to creating gorgeous contemporary art quilts and powerful story quilts that are coveted by museums and collectors.

  • A deep dive into the significance of Star quilts.
  • A history of how missionaries swarmed onto Native lands.
  • Understanding boarding school history: “The Hiroshima of Indian education.”
  • Explaining the regional differences of quilts from the Plains, Seminole, and Hopi cultures.
  • The story of a well-known family and their two Star quilts made 105 years apart.
  • The story of Almira Buffalo Bone Jackson, who was forced from her home as a child and sent to boarding school. As an adult, she loved to quilt, and her talent was amazing.
  • Powerful story quilts by contemporary quilter Susan Hudson that share the history, pain, and joy of her people. 

When she was a little kid, her Grandmother Frances used to say, “If you wanna know what’s going on, send Teresa a letter.” She was the letter writer for her whole family. She loves to write, and she has been at it her whole life. Ten years ago, she left her corporate job and chose to start writing about her passion: quilting! Seven books and a whole bunch of magazine articles later, she is still writing about quilts. Her greatest joy is bringing quilt history to life through her lectures to guilds all over the U.S. and Canada.

She is a member of the International Advisory Board of the International Quilt Museum; in 2021, she was named the scholar in residence for Visions Museum of Textile Art in San Diego; and she recently joined the board for The Quilt Alliance. She is also a quiltmaker and antique quilt collector. Learn more at:


Account Login

Find your folk.

It’s free to become a Quiltfolk Insider.
You’ll receive exclusive offers, news, and more!