Meet Navajo quilter Susan Hudson Saturday at Pagosa Springs History Museum

museum-warrior-story-cmykYou have the opportunity to meet Navajo quilter Susan Hudson Saturday at the Pagosa Springs History Museum.

She is just home from the Santa Fe Indian Market and will be available to talk to visitors about her family history and that of the Navajo people from 10:30 a.m. until noon.

This will be an informal gathering and discussion; no program will be presented — it’s just a unique opportunity to meet this quilter.

‘Warrior Story’

“Nii’ Da’ Ba’ Hii Ba’ Hane’” translates to “Warrior Story.”

Hudson began quilt it in November 2014 and completed it in March 2015.

“Warrior Story” has been entered in three competitions this year and has placed in all three.

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.

Hudson creates her quilts to honor “all of our grandmothers who were sent to the boarding schools.”

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.

Last week, “Warrior Story” took second place at the Santa Fe Indian Market.

The idea for this quilt came to Hudson in a dream and she translated it to fabric.

She said, “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.”

“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 in 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. This 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.

“Warrior Story” 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 exhibit ends on Sept. 19. Be sure to make plans to view it before then.

Pagosa history on display

The quilts are just the tip of the iceberg. The little metal building and rock building behind it house thousands of artifacts, with the majority of them having ties to the Pagosa Springs area and families who settled here.

Photo courtesy Pagosa Springs History Museum This saddle belonged to Henry Gordon, who homesteaded north of Pagosa Springs. Gordon Creek is named for him. He died in 1934 in Pagosa Springs at the age of 101. See this saddle and others at the Pagosa Springs History Museum. Photo courtesy Pagosa Springs History Museum
This saddle belonged to Henry Gordon, who homesteaded north of Pagosa Springs. Gordon Creek is named for him. He died in 1934 in Pagosa Springs at the age of 101. See this saddle and others at the Pagosa Springs History Museum.

Start at the display of saddles, which includes one that belonged to pioneer Henry Gordon, and enjoy the farming and ranching equipment.

In the next aisle, among other items, you’ll see the taxidermied bear, deer and mountain lion. While you are there, check out the mosasaur — fossils of a dinosaur found south of Pagosa Springs. Just around the corner is a quality display of gems and minerals.

In the front portion of the museum, you will see the teller’s cage from an early Pagosa Springs bank, a general store, the ornate cash register from Hatcher Mercantile, an early fire hose cart used to protect homes and businesses in our early days, railroad memorabilia and more.

As you transition from the front part of the museum, you’ll see a wall of photographs from Pagosa Springs’ early days and then pass into the rock building that makes up the back portion of the museum. This rock building originally housed the water wheel, which pushed the water up onto Reservoir Hill to feed the town’s water customers.

In the rock building, you’ll get a feel for the items in a typical household of the area. A kitchen range and sideboard, along with cooking implements, will make today’s cook appreciate modern conveniences.

Tucked into a corner of the kitchen is a plethora of clothes washing devices, from rub boards to wringer washers and an early Maytag, which show the progression in the ease of doing laundry.

An organ and tuba belonging to the Catchpole family are on display along with a homemade table that converts into a chair. This unique item was made by Walter X.Y. Zabriskie.

This just scratches the surface of the interesting artifacts on display. You are invited to view Hudson’s quilts, as well as 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 Pagosa Springs History Museum and Susan Hudson’s quilts by visiting