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Burke Collection Database

Northern Northwest Coast Weavers

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April Churchill Haida

April Churchill lives in Old Massett, British Columbia, where she is actively working to teach the Haida language. She is the daughter of Delores Churchill and the granddaughter of Selina Peratrovich. She learned her weaving skills from both.


Diane Douglas-Willard learned her craft from several teachers including Delores Churchill, Grace DeWitt, Holly Churchill, and Lucy Rainman. She has led numerous workshops on weaving at the Totem Heritage Center in Ketchikan. In recognition of her contributions, the center awarded her a Certificate of Merit.

Lisa Telford Haida

Lisa Telford is a Haida weaver from Old Massett, B.C. She is the niece of Delores Churchill and the granddaughter of Selina Peratrovich. She learned to weave baskets from Delores Churchill, and Haida cedar garments from Holly Churchill. She harvests and prepares her own material, using red and yellow cedar bark and spruce root in her work. She makes baskets, traditional hats, and cedar bark clothing.


Evelyn Vanderhoop Haida

Evelyn Vanderhoop is the daughter of Delores Churchill and the granddaughter of Selina Peratrovich. She took summer courses at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Alberta in high school, and received a B.A. degree from Western Washington University. During the summers of 1972 and 1976 she studied art at major European museums. For the past 20 years she has been a successful professional watercolor artist. Evelyn learned Raven's Tail and Chilkat weaving from Cheryl Samuel and Delores Churchill. She specializes in weaving Chilkat-style robes, and is one of only a handful of weavers who have mastered this complex technique, which is directly related to twining techniques used in basketry.

Selina Peratrovich Haida

Born in Old Massett in 1890, Selina grew up in Howkan, Alaska. A member of the git'ans git'anee Eagle clan, she learned to weave at age 24 from her mother-in-law. She learned by watching, "then I worked upstairs by myself, trying to do it and having to take it all out. It was so hard, sometimes I wept." Peratrovich became a teacher to help keep Haida basketry alive, and at the time of her death at age 95, she was the most accomplished weaver and teacher of Haida basketry. Among her students are her daughter, Delores Churchill, her granddaughters, Holly Churchill, April Churchill, and Evelyn Vanderhoop, and her relatives, Florence Edenshaw Davidson, Florence's daughter, Primrose Adams, and Primrose's daughter, Isabel Rorick.

Delores Churchill Haida

Delores Churchill, who lives in Ketchikan, Alaska, has been weaving baskets since 1972, having learned from her mother, Selina Peratrovich. She studied Raven's Tail and Chilkat weaving with Cheryl Samuel, and also learned from Tlingit weaver, Jennie Thlunaut. Delores has received many awards for her work, and has taught numerous workshops. She has done research on basketry and weaving in museums around the world.

Primrose Adams Haida

Primrose Adams is the granddaughter of a great weaver, Isabella Edenshaw (see the hat in the "Studying Baskets" section). Both she and her mother, Florence Edenshaw, learned the art of weaving in their adulthood from Selina Peratrovich, Primrose's mother-in-law. Isabella died the same year Primrose was born.


A new generation of weavers is at work. LaVerne Edenshaw is learning to weave from her aunt, Christine R. Peele Tolson, in Hydaburg, Alaska. This yellow cedar bark basket is the fifth basket she made, and was woven during the summer of 2000. The diagonal pattern is the "strawberry" design. LaVerne's grandparents are Freda and Sylvester Peele. Her great-grandparents were William and Nora (Edenshaw) Cogo, and her great-great-grandparents were Isabella and Charles Edenshaw (see the Isabella Edenshaw hat in the "Studying Baskets" section).

Isabel Rorick Haida

Isabel Rorick is the daughter of Primrose Adams. She learned to weave from her grandmother, Selina Peratrovich. Isabel has recently traveled to several museum collections, including the Burke Museum, to study Haida basketry.

Holly Churchill Haida

Holly Churchill studied basketry with her grandmother, Selina and her mother, Delores. She has taught classes at the University of Alaska and the Heritage Centers in Anchorage and Ketchikan, World Explorer Cruise Lines and other institutions. Her work has been shown at the Anchorage Museum of History, the Tongass Historical Museum, the Smithsonian Institute, and other museums. Her loaned baskets include a spruce root sea asparagus colander, used for straining and steaming greens, a spruce root spoon basket, made to be worn around the neck as in ancient times, a cedar bark seaweed gathering basket, and a spruce root rattle-top basket.


Janice Criswell teaches Northwest Coast basketry at the University of Alaska Southeast. She learned to weave Raven's Tail robes and basketry from Cheryl Samuel and Delores Churchill. She was one of the weavers who wove the "Hands Across Time" robe for the Alaska State Museum. The painting on this basket is by Steve Henrikson, Curator of Collections at the Alaska State Museum, Juneau.

Loa Ryan Tsimshian

Loa Ryan was born and raised in the Tsimshian village of Old Metlakatla, British Columbia. Loa has worked with Delores Churchill for the past five years in refining her traditional weaving techniques. Loa lectures and demonstrates basket weaving techniques to organizations such as the Tacoma Arts Commission, Puyallup Fair, Olympic College, and the Seattle Art Museum. Loa Ryan and her apprentice Jackie Jainga-Hyllseth are recipients of a Washington State Folk Arts Apprenticeship Grant.

Lindarae Haldane Shearer Tsimshian

Lindarae Haldane Shearer was born in New Metlakatla, Alaska, and lived there with her family until 1959 when they moved to Seattle during her junior high years. She returned to Metlakatla in 1994, where she has a business called Laughing Berry Designs. She learned to weave from her old Auntie, Mrs. Lillian Buchert, during one of her summer visits to Metlakatla. She has also taken classes from Delores Churchill.

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All material ©Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, 2001