Wassiliisa "Deedee" Bennis
This oral history project focuses on Native Alaska women engaged in Bristol Bay fisheries. Women play a major role in maintaining set net permits and are critical to sustaining small-scale fisheries in Alaska and the communities who depend on them. Interviews were conducted with women of various ages who have participated in commercial and/ or subsistence salmon fisheries.
Wassiliisa (Deedee) lives in Dillingham, Alaska and is the Chief Administrative Officer at Bristol Bay Native Association, where she has worked for over forty years. In this interview Deedee describes how she grew up fishing with her father, who was a commercial fisherman, and how she values family engagement in the fishery. She goes on to highlight various subsistence practices, and the ways that she has passed on gathering and preparing subsistence foods to her children, and now her grandchildren. Deedee advocates for a subsistence way of life and describes recent environmental threats, such as Pebble Mine. This interview was conducted by NOAA Fisheries Alaska Fisheries Science Center in partnership with Bristol Bay Native Association as part of the Women of Alaska Fisheries oral history project.
It’s who we are: Voices of Alaska Native women set-netters. Anna Lavoie, Kim Sparks, Jean Lee (Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission), and Sarah Wise (NOAA Fisheries, Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC). 2018. Support provided by Bristol Bay Native Association. Funding provided by the NOAA Heritage Program (formerly the NOAA Preserve America Initiative) and AFSC. Interviews are accessed on NOAA's Voices from the Fisheries website at www.voices.nmfs.noaa.gov.
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