Alumni Programs

Llyn De Danaan


Former Faculty, The Evergreen State College


Llyn De Danaan
Nebraska Press

Photo of Llyn De Danaan


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Biographical Note

LLyn De Danaan, emerita faculty, The Evergreen State College, writes fiction and non-fiction. Her most well known and acclaimed works are Conversations with the Inner Dog and Koans for the Inner Dog. A novel, Big Adventure on Moa Nui, was published summer of 2011. She has been a research consultant for Washington Indian tribes since 1991. Her non-fiction publications include many journal articles as well as social studies curricula, produced in collaboration with Indian educators and the Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s office. She was a recipient of the Washington State Historical Society’s Peace and Friendship award in recognition of her role in fostering an understanding of Washington’s cultural diversity. Her field work experience includes ethnographic studies of farm laborers in Yakima Valley, long term projects in Sarawak and Kelantan, Malaysia, and short term work in Thailand and Rajasthan, India. She collaborated in the documentation of Transylvanian winter ceremonials during a Fulbright fellowship in Romania 2006-2007. Her recent Mountain of Shell project focuses on the life and work of the Japanese and Japanese American community on Oyster Bay, Washington. This work was published, in part, by Columbia Magazine, Winter 2011-2012. Her nonfiction book, Katie Gale’s Tombstone: Landscape, Power, and Justice on 19th Century Oyster Bay will be published by University of Nebraska Press.

Photo of Llyn De Danaan's book

Publication Types

Author Fiction
Author Non-Fiction
Scholastic, Academic Research

Latest Publication Title

Katie Gale:  A Coast Salish Woman's Life on Oyster Bay

Publication Excerpt

A gravestone, a mention in local archives, stories still handed down around Oyster Bay: the outline of a woman begins to emerge and with her the world she inhabited, so rich in tradition, so shaken by violent change. Katie Kettle Gale was born into a Salish community in Puget Sound in the 1850s, just as settlers were migrating into what would become Washington State. With her people forced out of their accustomed hunting and fishing grounds into ill-provisioned island camps and reservations, Katie Gale sought her fortune in Oyster Bay. In that early outpost of multiculturalism—where Native Americans and immigrants from the eastern United States, Europe, and Asia vied for economic, social, political, and legal power—a woman like Gale could make her way.
As LLyn De Danaan mines the historical record, we begin to see Gale, a strong-willed Native woman who co-founded a successful oyster business, then wrested it away from her Euro-American husband, a man with whom she raised children and who ultimately made her life unbearable. Steeped in sadness—with a lost home and a broken marriage, children dying in their teens, and tuberculosis claiming her at forty-three—Katie Gale’s story is also one of remarkable pluck, a tale of hard work and ingenuity, gritty initiative and bad luck that is, ultimately, essentially American.

“Katie Gale’s story is unique in its scale; few accounts of the nineteenth-century Northwest focus on the life of a single Native woman and her family. LLyn De Danaan’s writing is big history made deeply human, offering insights not just into Native American history but also into the arrival of industrial capitalism on Puget Sound, the politics of statehood and race in Washington, and the profound transformation of local landscapes.”—Coll Thrush, author of Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place
(Coll Thrush 20130305)

“I have followed LLyn De Danaan’s writing path for years now. She is talented and bold, and this new book puts her firmly where she belongs—at the heart of the American voice. Good stuff, highly recommended.”—Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil’s Highway and Into the Beautiful North
(Luis Alberto Urrea 20130305)