Voices of a Thousand People


Voices of a Thousand People

The Makah Cultural and Research Center

Patricia Pierce Erikson, with Helma Ward and Kirk Wachendorf

264 pages
Illus., maps


October 2005


$35.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Voices of a Thousand People is the story of one Native community’s efforts to found their own museum and empower themselves to represent their ancient traditional lifeways, their historic experiences with colonialism, and their contemporary efforts to preserve their heritage for generations to come. This ethnography richly portrays how a community embraced the archaeological discovery of Ozette village in 1970 and founded the Makah Cultural and Research Center (MCRC) in 1979. Oral testimonies, participant observation, and archival research weave a vivid portrait of a cultural center that embodies the self-image of a Native American community in tension with the identity assigned to it by others.

Author Bio

Patricia Pierce Erikson is an independent scholar who has taught cultural anthropology at Smith College, the University of Washington, and the University of Southern Maine. Helma Ward (1918–2002) was a Makah elder who served twenty-two years as a Makah language specialist for the MCRC. Kirk Wachendorf is an interpretive specialist at the MCRC who draws upon his experiences as a Makah tribal member and his previous archaeological work to provide public programming. Janine Bowechop is the MCRC’s executive director.


"Voices of a Thousand People is an incredible ethnography, deserving a broad audience. It should be required reading for scholars and students of museums, and Indigenous Peoples. At the same time, anthropologists, historians, and museologists will benefit greatly from engaging this case study, while university teachers would be wise to consider using it in a range of courses in Native American studies, museum studies, and anthropology."—C. Richard King, Journal of the West

“[An] excellent case study documenting some of the recent history of the Makah Indian Tribe.”—Pacific Northwest Quarterly

“[One of] the only full-length studies to examine a Native museum in the context of the tribe’s history, the history of Native experience with museums and other outside influences, and the successful reorientation of the museum concept to fit tribal needs.”—Museum News

“Recommended for historians, archeologists, anthropologists, ethnographic specialists, students and museum studies professionals.”—Indigenous Nations Studies Journal