Historic photographs of Sitka and the Cottage Community that Gil Truitt discusses in his interview.
Gill Truitt (Yic Xa') is a Tlingit elder from the Wooshkeetaan (Shark) Clan of the Ch’áak’ (Eagle) moiety. He was born in 1928 and raised in Sitka, Alaska, but suffered the hardship of being orphaned at 15. Despite this, he never lost sight of his education goals. He graduated from Mt. Edgecumbe High School as a member of the school’s first graduating class in 1948, and earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts Degree at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. Gil Truitt returned home to Sitka to pursue a life as an educator, and worked at Mt. Edgecumbe as a teacher, basketball coach and administrator from 1957 until his retirement in 1990. He also helped establish the Region V Basketball Tournament at Mt. Edgecumbe. He has received numerous awards, including: Honorary Doctor of Laws from University of Alaska Anchorage; commendation by the State of Alaska; citation from Alaska State Legislature; Public Service Award from Aleut Corporation during the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention; and inductions into the Alaska School Athletics and Activities Association and Harding University Athletics Halls of Fame. In 2018, he received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA).