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Master weaver Melissa Peterson and her daughter Samantha Della-DeVoney will present “Generations of Makah Weavers” in Studium Generale at the Peninsula College.

This program, along with the Culture Fair, is part of the Native American Heritage Month celebration in Port Angeles, Washington.

Melissa lives in Neah Bay on the Makah Reservation. She learned weaving from Irene Ward over 30 years ago, as well as from Nora Barker, Lina McGee, Susan Johnson, Linda Colfax, and Margaret Irving. She also learned by studying the old Ozette styles found in the Makah Cultural and Research Center’s collection. She teaches basketry throughout the region.

Samantha Della-DeVoney shared that she has learned weaving and other traditions from her mother, Melissa Peterson, as well as “my great great aunty Helen Peterson, who was like a grandmother to me, and many other Makah people.” In June, Della-Devoney will graduate from the Evergreen State College’s Native Pathways Program (NPP). When Della-Devoney presented “Upholding Indigenous Traditions” in Juneau at the Alaska Native Studies Conference, she explained that “Indigenous traditions are vital to maintaining our truth, our ontology, our cultural identity.” She continued, “We know this to be true, because our epistemology is the result of witnessing the consequences of many traditions being disrupted from the lives of Indigenous Peoples around the world. The action we take to support this reality, which is our methodology, is that we preserve traditions. We create a relationship with them. We learn them. We implement them. We teach them.”

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