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Mary Jane Valentine’s Tlingit name is Konuk and is Ganaxteidei (Raven) from the Frog House in Klukwan. She was born and raised in Haines, Alaska and currently lives by the Chilkat River just past Klukwan with her husband Bill. Her parents who live near by are Hank (Kutzee) and Edith Jacquot (Deiskoo). Both parents have ties to Klukwan and can trace their lineage back generations.
A love for crafts and watching her mother learn Ravenstail and Chilkat weaving and making baskets, has sparked an interest in native arts. When the opportunity came to enroll in the Northwest Coast Art Program, she eagerly enrolled in the two year program.
When she was 12 years old, she did odd jobs of sewing buttons on blankets, trying her hand at soapstone carving and dancing with the Chilkat Dancers over at Port Chilkoot. When she was 19 years old, she went to Japan with the Chilkat Dancers, Governor Egan, and Miss Alaska to promote tourism in the State of Alaska.
Mary Jane has taken carving, weaving, basket, skin sewing and beading classes. Her teacher’s have been Cheryl Samuel, Jim Heaton, Lani Hotch, Jennie Wheeler, Delores Churchill and Lorraine Kasko.
She has made medicine bags, leggings, peyote key chains, baskets, moccasins, sealskin coin purses and a button blanket (work in progress) and has participated in carving six totem poles, a red cedar canoe, a mask and combs.
Her three daughters also share her love of crafting. Mary Jane and her daughter, Carrie are currently working on a community weaving in Klukwan, called the “Harvest Robe”. There is now three generations of weavers in the family.
Carving the dugout canoe
Posing with the Warrior Totem