Tammy Owens is Daḵl’aweidí (Killer Whale) and was born and raised in Juneau, Alaska. Her Tlingit name is Awasti, which comes from an oral narrative about an old woman who went under the glacier. Her family originates from Angoon and she belongs to the Killer Whale Tooth House.
Her father, Gene W. Chilton, taught her Northwest Coast design and silver carving and she taught herself to sew. Art has always played a central part in her life, and now that she lives so far from home it is even more important to her.
“It’s not just a way for me to make a living, but more significantly, it’s a way to keep my children and myself connected to our Alaska Native heritage. By keeping our clan’s stories, history, and art around us at home, it gives my children strong roots to who they are.”