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Mary Lou Slaughter

Mary Lou Slaughter was born in 1938, the great granddaughter of Chief Sealth, the Native American chief after whom the city of Seattle was named. She is of the Duwamish people who today have no land base and no federal recognition.

Mary Lou grew up in Manette when it wasn't popular to be of Indian heritage. It wasn't until her son became a woodcarver that she decided to validate his heritage by embracing her own. She took her Great Grandmother's Indian name at a Potlach in 1996.

In 1995 she took a basket weaving class from Loa Ryan, who is of the Tsimshisn tribe. Loa looked at her basket, then told her she should take basket weaving from someone in her own tribe. That person turned out to be Ed Carriere, who is featured in one of our other "profiles". She studied with Ed for 2 1/2 year and he declared her one of his best students.

Mary Lou entered her first Native American "Indian Art Nortwest" show in Portland Oregon in 2000. She won a first, second and third place.

Mary has been blessed with many talents: knitting, sewing, stained glass, oil painting, wood carving, photography and writing poetry.

Her basket weaving has now taken priority and she has started teaching out of her home. Her work can be purchased in the Seattle's Burke Museum gift shop and directly from her. She also has some weaving in the Log House Museum in West Seattle for the 150 year celebration of the founding of Seattle. Her people helped the Denny party survive their first winter in Puget Sound.

Mary Lou lives in Port Orchard, Washington with her husband of 30 years. They have 5 children, 14 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

You can email Mary Lou at slaughter@net-nw.com

Mary Lou's life and work: