OCTOBER 20, 2012

UNANGEN BASKET WEAVER MARIA TURNPAUGH DIED

Born in Unalaska in 1927, her grandfather was a chief and a warden in the Russian Orthodox church.  She learned the Aleut language (Unangam Tunuu) from her mother.  When she was a teenager, Turnpaugh and her family were forced to evacuate Unalaska after an attack by the Japanese in 1942. They spent the rest of World War II in a camp in Southeast Alaska and returned in 1945.  She eventually started a family of her own, and became a mother to 13 children. In her lifetime, Maria saw four generations follow her.  As an adult, Turnpaugh earned renown for her basket-weaving. Her art is in collections maintained by the Museum of the Aleutians, the Museum of Natural History in Anchorage, and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.  She died at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage.

Source:  Alexandra Gutierrez, “Elder Remembered for Impact On Unalaska, Unangan Artwork,” KUCB, 10/25/2012.  Retrieved 7/26/2020, http://archive.kucb.org/news/article/elder-remembered-for-impact-on-unalaska-unangan-artwork/
Doll:  Maria Turnpaugh (1927-2012), 2007.  “Aleut Doll with a Basket.”  Courtesy of the Museum of the Aleutians Collection.

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