Photographs from Mary Demientieff's personal collection.
Mary H. Demientieff is an Athabascan elder who was born in 1932 to Pauline and Bill Dahlquist in Nulato, Alaska. In 1942, she was sent to the Holy Cross Mission because her father died and her mother was not able to care for her. Mary learned to read and write at the Mission, as well as other valuable lessons and life skills. Since those early days, religion has continued to be an important part of her life. Mary married Joe Demientieff and they raised a large family together in Holy Cross based upon subsistence fishing and hunting. They had a fish camp on the Yukon River, and spending time there with her children and grandchildren has been one of her greatest pleasures. Mary enjoys music and singing, plays the guitar and keyboard, and is well known for her expert and intricate beading. Click here to watch and listen to Mary Demientieff singing and playing music.