Patricia Ferris

The far northern region of California (Humboldt and Siskoyou Counties) is the homeland of the Hupa and Karuk tribes, who have been vigilant in sustaining cultural practices related to a mode of life to which the Klamath tributary is central. Ritual and ceremony of renewal continue to be integrated in this mode of life to which a variety of cultural expressions — dance, music, canoe building, hunting, fishing, basket weaving — play important roles in informing and maintaining cultural legacy. Equally important of the cultural practices in this regions is the regalia made for dancers and ceremonial participants.

Patricia Ferris is not only a regalia maker but is a ceremonial dancer and was instrumental in reviving the “jump dance” tradition for the Karuk people. She and her husband are “fire owners” for the Karuk jump dance. Ferris had learned from her elders, many of whom have passed, and now she is positioned in the role of elder and teacher of these traditions.

As part of ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program in 2016, Patricia Ferris will be working with her youngest daughter Trisha Ferris. Patricia will mentor her daughter, deepening her skills in the traditional construction and meaning of Hupa and Karuk necklaces.


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