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Candace Wellman, Heritage Resources Distinguished Speaker at Western Washington University

April 16 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Photo of Candace Wellman seated in front of a window

Candace Wellman will present “Inside the Archives: Exploring Whatcom County’s 19th Century Cross-Cultural Marriages.” She will discuss her research process and subsequent discoveries. The talk is free and open to the public.

While helping researchers at the Washington State Archives, Candace Wellman discovered that 80-90 percent of all marriages in Whatcom County’s early decades were cross-cultural. The husbands included nearly every community founder and official, yet history authors mentioned only white women as founding mothers. She became determined to illuminate the hidden history surrounding these relationships. Over more than twenty years, and working with nearly some two hundred collaborators, Wellman, an expert in research methods, sociology, history, and genealogy, scrutinized old sources and searched for new ones, particularly legal cases. Focusing on cross-cultural couples, she found evidence that, except in rare cases, local and regional historians stereotyped and ignored the Frontier West’s intermarried women.

The resulting book, Peace Weavers: Uniting the Salish Coast Through Cross-Cultural Marriages (WSU Press, 2017), was awarded the 2018 WILLA Literary Award for Scholarly Non-Fiction by the organization Women Writing the West. She recently published her second book, Interwoven Lives: Indigenous Mothers of Salish Coast Communities.

Wellman holds undergraduate degrees in sociology from Washington State University and history/secondary education from Western Washington University, and has pursued graduate work in sociology. Born and raised in Washington, the Bellingham resident is a local history consultant and speaks regularly about women’s history and regional settlement.

“Candace Wellman’s years of painstaking research and work with local families have brought to the fore these crucially important histories of Indigenous-settler relations in the far Northwest, and challenge much of the received wisdom about the workings of colonialism in this place.”—Coll Thrush, author, Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place

Interwoven Lives book cover Peace Weavers cover



April 16
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm


Western Washington University Libraries
Special Collections (Wilson Library 6th floor)
Bellingham, WA