Shelia Epps Wilson
TRIBE: Sappony Indians
Shelia Epps Wilson grew up watching women quilt at her Grandmother Jewel Epps' home. During the winter months there was always a quilt in some stage of completion. Shelia’s inspiration to become an artist herself came in 2006 when she attended a four-day boot camp at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies. Sappony Quilts: Covers of Love was the name of Shelia’s documentary project. She wanted to capture the art of quilting for the next generation; now she often covers the annual Sappony Quilting Bee. The last Saturday in January you will find Sappony Tribal members, men and women quilting and sharing wonderful stories. You might find Shelia supporting her tribe at American Indian Heritage Day at the N.C. Museum of History in late November.
Shelia has covered other tribal events and activities too. Her images capture everyday and tribal specific activities including cooking, fishing, farming or singing. Shelia has been active in the Sappony Heritage Youth Camp started by the Sappony tribe on Lake Mayo in 2001. Every summer for a week, young people from the tribe learn about their tribe’s history and traditions from their tribal elders, as well as about their community lands, buildings and people. This is where the future tribal leaders are being developed.
“My message as a photographer about the Sappony of the High Plains is that We’re Still Here! We’re still quilting, growing and canning food, fishing, and worshipping together.”