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When I first saw the Dreamcatcher square of the Okiciyap quilt, my mind immediately drew a connection to the Okiciyap logo, and superimposed the two. Now, when I see one, I automatically see the other as well. But that's not all that I see.

The background of the Dreamcatcher as a Native American symbol1 was mentioned by Aji in her diary Feeding the Body, Feeding the Spirit: Okiciyap (We Help). Beadlady explained a bit about her decision to add this symbol to the quilt2 in her diary, entitled Okiciyap Dkos Auction Quilt. When I see the design she created, I see far more than a beautifully rendered design or a superimposed Okiciyap logo. When I look at Beadlady's handiwork, I see several objects within the wheel:
  • I see a stylized representation of the sun. The sun is the key ingredient for life on our planet as we know it. The Earth's movement around the sun is marked in many ways; one of those ways include noting the four solstices - one for spring, one for summer, one for fall and one for winter.3 We just passed the Spring Solstice, marking the passage of it and the arrival of spring in various ways. Some celebrate Easter, a time of death & resurrection. Others celebrate the start of Oestara, a celebration of spring. Today marks Easter Monday and Dyngus Day for some; for others, it may simply mark April Fool's day, which in and of itself may represent the end of winter's confinement. (Speculation, on my part, as to the impetus behind the 'how & why' the April Fool's tradition started.)
  • I see a sunflower's petals. The sunflower is a native American (Mexico & Southwestern US) plant, and it plays a significant role not only in farming tradition but also energy - and decontamination. Via Wikipedia:
    American Indians had multiple uses for sunflowers in the past, such as in bread, medical ointments, dyes and body paints.

    Sunflower oil, extracted from the seeds, is used for cooking, as a carrier oil and to produce margarine and biodiesel, as it is cheaper than olive oil. A range of sunflower varieties exist with differing fatty acid compositions; some 'high oleic' types contain a higher level of monounsaturated fats in their oil than even olive oil.


    Traditionally, several Native American groups planted sunflowers on the north edges of their gardens as a "fourth sister" to the better known three sisters combination of corn, beans, and squash.[18] Annual species are often planted for their allelopathic properties.


    Sunflowers can be used in phytoremediation to extract toxic ingredients from soil, such as lead, arsenic and uranium. They were used to remove caesium-137 and strontium-90 from a nearby pond after the Chernobyl disaster, and a similar campaign was mounted in response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
  • I see the Pinwheel Galaxy. And that reminds me of Carl Sagan's words:
    “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”

            ― Carl Sagan, Cosmos
  • I see a windmill. Windmills are not new, but wind turbines are - an evolution of our capacity to learn & grow, harnessing natural resources to provide for our growing needs. Wind power is an alternative energy source that has tremendous potential, particularly in the Mid and Southwestern United States - particularly when combined with other green alternatives, like solar energy.
  • I see a propeller. Large swaths of the central United States are often "out of sight/out of mind" to Coasters, who - during travels from one coast to another via the miracle of modern aviation - have been known to refer to anything between the two coastlines as "flyover country."

    Out of sight, out of mind.

    Almost invisible.

    And with that thought, a plethora of associations cascade through my mind - the banality of evil; the habit of people to dismiss, ignore or not see those who are less fortunate like the homeless and/or unemployed as they pass them by on the streets (musically accompanied by That's just the way it is by Bruce Hornsby); the very real, and still ongoing, issues of Invisible Indians and the plight of their people and Nations...
  • I see a whirlwind. A tornado, or a whirl-wind - a swirling vortex. Change - sudden & dynamic. A warning from ancient texts ("they that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind") which can also be seen as a portent of good (my interpretation, ymmv) - the growth of cleaner energy through the construction & building of more wind turbines. And the concept of a groundswell of whispers, murmurs and human voices, joining together and rising in chorus - and cacaphony - to identify the issues that matter & bring them to the forefront of discussion in spite of the efforts of special interest groups & the rich & powerful to focus on distraction and their own pet projects.

Indeed, the longer I look, the more I see and the more associations leap to mind.

And that's just for that one square. There are 12 squares on the quilt. What do ~you~ see when you look upon it?

Follow me below the swirling vortex of orange for more information about the quilt auction, how you can help and why 1 + 1 sometimes equals 3.

There's strength in numbers. We see this in life almost anywhere we look - in the animal kingdom, in the plant kingdom, in human society.  Ask any teacher, or mathematician, physicist, engineer, or chemist; ask anyone in the defense department or social media marketing.

Ask any individual. Anyone who has ever stood up, stood out, and stood together with others. Anyone who's ever needed or given a hug, or worked at a shelter, or helped douse a fire or work with disaster victims.

Ask any fundraiser.

Numbers make a difference. As of this moment, just before 10:00 am EST, the numbers that are, right now, making a huge difference are the numbers that people here have helped shape.

Current high bid in the auction: $990

Currently known PayPal donations: In excess of $1,400

Current tally of check donations: Believed to be in excess of $1,000.

Those are powerful numbers.

By the time the diary opening the first day of bidding was complete, just as the second diary was coming up, we were at over $600 (around $640, I ~think~)...the numbers have grown significantly.

"Many hands make light work." It's an old phrase, but a true one. (And that reminds me of the many hands, many colors represented by the Okiciyap logo.) Strength in numbers. And economies of scale - a type of synergy, where the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

That's what a quilt is. This quilt, in particular. It is far more than the sum of its parts. It's a physical manifestation of synergy, of community, of humanity at its best. Above the fold, I focused - only briefly - on only a few of the things I found in one of the twelve squares comprising the quilt design. Each of those elements listed touched off a small whirlwind of associated elements, each in turn branching out and igniting additional topics. Each square has the capacity to bring about such reflection. Each square is a symbol, and every symbol has the power to evoke memories & associations that tie us, and our collective histories, into one community.

That was just one square. There are 11 equally compelling squares sewn together with it into one quilt.

The Okiciyap Quilt Auction continues. There are individual and group bids now involved. For those who can't bid directly or as part of a group, donations are coming in through the PayPal link. And others by check.

The numbers add up. Yes, it costs anywhere from $1,200 to $1,600 (on top of the 12-14 hr commitment of one to three people) for a food run. And the other projects which this auction will help fund all have costs associated with them, as well.

We have shown that we have many hands. Eager hands, some skillful hands, and warm hearts. We have the strength of numbers - whether it's the numbers in terms of donation or bid size, or the numbers combining to join together smaller contributions, or the numbers who help spread the word of the auction and encourage others to participate in either bidding or donation, every one counts.

Let's show the real power of numbers, and the strength of a community working together in synergy: we can make 1 + 1 =3 with synergy. We can't make $1 + $1 = $3, but we can spread the word farther and encourage more and more people to lend their voices to our own in order to sound together, in unison, a call for others to help by bidding, or donating, or by sharing this with everyone they can reach.

That's real power. That's real community.

That's our reality.


The following Kossacks have supported the Okiciyap Quilt Auction by writing diaries about the creation of the quilt and about the struggles and successes of the Okiciyap Pantry. For the complete rules, go here.

March 17        BeadLady                    Photos of the Finished Okiciyap Quilt

March 17        glorificus                                The Auction Rules  Time for the Big Show!!

March 18        Glen the Plumber      Helping the Helpers

March 19        GreyHawk            Twelve is a Community Number

March 20        Aji    Feeding the Body, Feeding the Spirit  Okiciyap (We Help)

March 21        Pam from Calif       We Quilt for Others

March 22        winifred3           Of Quilts and History

March 23        BeadLady       Okiciyap Auction Quilt

March 24        leu2500            Why this quilt ?

March 25        One Pissed Off Liberal         Okiciyap   We Help

March 26        Meteor Blades      Help the People of Cheyenne River

March 27        GreyHawk              Let the Bidding Begin

March 27        radical simplicity       We Help   That's What It's All About

March 28        Horace Boothroyd III          Two-Spirit and Okiciyap

March 28        Denise Oliver Velez            This Quilt is Not Invisable

March 29        Patriot Daily News Clearing House    Sharing the Quilters' Stories

March 29        glorificus          Okiciyap - Feeding the Hungry

March 30        Dave in Northridge     Okiciyap Quilt Auction Benefit

March 30        Zen Trainer         Why a Food Bank ?   By the Numb3rs

March 31        weck         Okiciyap Food Pantry Still Needs Us, Please Donate or Bid Today

April 1            GreyHawk         Okiciyap Quilt Auction: Strength in Numbers, Synergy and Symbols

April 1            peregrine kate

April 2            navajo

April 3            Smoh

April 4            Bob Johnson

April 4            Grizzard

April 5            RLMiller

April 5            nomandates

April 6            mollyd

April 6            ninepatch

April 7            betson08      

April 7            Pam from Calif        

If you have followed us this far, you may also be interested in joining the Daily Kos Quilt Guild Auction Alliance Group. We  kosmail all members with updates through out the auction;  be the first on your block to know the newest high bid!


1 From Aji's Okiciyap Quilt Auction diary Feeding the Body, Feeding the Spirit: Okiciyap (We Help):

The Dreamcatcher:

Attribution: None Specified
Okiciyap Quilt 2013  second row center block
The dreamcatcher has become a sort of intertribal symbol. Multiple Indian nations, including my own, take credit for having first created it, and there are two major variations in the stories with regard to how they work. The way I first learned the story, Grandmother Spider's web catches your good dreams, so that you'll remember them, but the hole in the very center allows the bad dreams to slip through, leaving your sleep untroubled. The other version of the story is the reverse: The hole lets your good dreams go through, but the web catches (and neutralizes) the bad ones. In our tradition, there's a backstory to the creation of the first dreamcatcher, designed to instill in people a sense of the importance of fulfilling their spiritual responsibilities. How they are made also varies widely: In some traditions, the hoop must be made of red willow bark to be authentic; some are incomplete without feathers attached; and some have beads or fetishes woven into the webbing, which is usually made of sinew.

2 From Beadlady's Okiciyap Quilt Auction Diary Okiciyap Dkos Auction Quilt:

Each quilter made a block of their own design. I asked Melanie to make a block leaving me white space to quilt something special. I was able to take a couple of different ideas and put them together to make a Dream Catcher. "The dream catcher is hung above a sleeping area in a place where the morning light can hit it. The nature of the Dream Catcher will attract all sorts of dreams to its webs. When bad dreams come, they do not know the way through the web and get caught in the webbing where the first light of day causes them to melt away and perish. The good dreams knowing the way go through the center of the web and slide down the feather to the sleeper below. ..."

Block 5

3 A little info about the Solstices: The Equinox

Originally posted to Okiciyap (we help) on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 07:44 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos Quilt Guild Auction Alliance, Native American Netroots, Community Fundraisers, and DK Quilt Guild.

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