Susan Hudson, a Navajo/Diné artist from Sheep Springs, NM was taught to sew by her mother who was forced to sew at an “assimilation” boarding school. Hudson’s pictorial quilts honor her ancestors and the proud history of the Navajo people using a crossover style inspired by Ledger art. Recounting history through her ledger quilts has made Hudson an activist storyteller, chronicling the hardships endured by her ancestors.
Her mother Dorothy Woods taught her to sew and quilt when she was nine years old. “After the buffalo disappeared, our women were forced to learn sewing in boarding schools. But look at what we are doing with it now. We are taking it a step further and using it to tell our own stories so we will never forget,” remarks Hudson. “In my dreams I’ll see images of my ancestors. I think about them being forced to leave their homelands and go to reservations and the children being made to go to the boarding schools. I think about the Long Walk of the Navajo.”
Her quilts honor her ancestors, their sacrifices and strengths, and remember their hardships. These tributes have won awards at the Navajo Nation Fair, Window Rock, AZ, the Gallup Intertribal Ceremonies, NM, the Museum of Man in San Diego, CA, and at the Indian Arts and Crafts Association, NM, among others.