Denise “Weetahmoe” Silva-Dennis
Denise “Weetahmoe” Silva-Dennis (1960) (Shinnecock/Hassanamisco-Nipmuc) is a multi-disciplinary artist and educator based in the Shinnecock Nation. Denise retired from the Southampton School District as an Elementary School Art Teacher in 2016; during her career, she taught at the Southampton Intermediate School. While there, Denise was a Special Education Resource Room and Safety-Net Teacher as well as an Art Teacher. Global Neighborhood in conjunction with S.I.S. selected Denise to travel to Brisbane and Yeppoon Australia for a special art assignment teaching students about The Medicine Wheel.
Always a teacher, Denise emerged from retirement in 2020 – present to work as an educator at The Retreat in Easthampton, the East Ends only Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Agency.
Silva-Dennis graduated from Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art. Upon graduation, she received honors in her discipline. Silva-Dennis works primarily in acrylic for her figurative paintings. Her professional achievements include two paintings selected for the exhibit ‘In Beauty It Has Begun…’ sponsored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Smithsonian Institute. She also won the Parrish Art Museum’s Judge’s Award in the painting category. Silva-Dennis is also an accomplished beadwork craftswoman. The traditional Eastern Woodland style of beadwork was handed down to her from her mother, Princess Silva Arrow (Loretta Silva), and elder women of Shinnecock, namely Princess Thunderbird (Edith Bess), and Hassanamisco-Nipmuc Nation Woman Chief, Princess White Flower (Zara Cisco Brough). Her work includes mandala necklace and earring sets, beaded medicine fans, walking sticks, beaded cradleboards, beaded moccasins, and beaded crowns.
Recently, Denise’s paintings, “Not The Last of The Tenacious Shinnecock Indians,” and “Land Back Butter” have been shown at Teatro Yerbabruja in Bay Shore, the Southampton Art Center’s “Outcropping” (curated by her son, Jeremy Dennis), and at Ma’s House BIOPIC Art Studio/Residency also founded by Jeremy Dennis. Denise’s painting “Traveling to the North in a Dugout” is currently on display, through September 2022 at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook exhibition: "Two Centuries of Long Island Women Artists, 1800-2000." In addition, Denise was honored to receive the 2022 Kweli Color of Children’s Literature Conference Inaugural Legacy Award, named in honor of the late Floyd Cooper (Muskogee Creek), the celebrated children’s book author/illustrator of the book, Juneteenth.
Denise is a Board Member of several organizations including Graves Protection Warrior Society, Niamuck Land Trust, and Hamptons Community Outreach.