Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

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totemhm.gif Through oral history interviews, photographs, and a walking tour of the Russian Bishop's House, the Sitka National Historical Park Project Jukebox provides an overview of the  Park; its history, its facilities, and its importance to members of the Sitka community. People interviewed have a variety of ties to the Park. Tlingit elders remember hunting, fishing, and collecting plants from within its boundaries. The Park is significant to the local Kiks.ádi clan since it is where their ancestors fought against Russian invasion in 1804. One of the reasons the land was set aside for the Park was to commemorate this battle. Native and Non-Native Sitkans remember playing in the Park as children, especially those who lived at neighboring Sheldon Jackson School and its mission-sponsored Cottage Community. Former Park employees discuss their experiences and key events, such as building the Visitor Center, establishing the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center, and restoring the Russian Bishop's House. Artists and administrators talk about the Cultural Center's role in the community, and its influence on their art and their lives. This project offers a wonderful first-hand perspective on "the meaning of place" to a community.

The National Park Service funded the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program to collaborate with them and the Sitka Tribe of Alaska on this project. Kristen Griffin, the Park Service Liaison to this project in Sitka, Robi Craig, Anthropologist for the Sitka Tribe, and Karen Brewster, Research Associate at the Oral History Program conducted interviews from December 1998 to June 1999, and program development and production occurred from June to December 1999.

People

Louise Brady Louise Brady

Louise Brady (X'asheech Tláa) is a Tlingit woman who is a member of the Kiks.ádi Clan from Sitka, Alaska. She is active in cultural preservation, tribal government, and drug and alcohol education and treatment programs. She has worked as a culture and education specialist for the National Park Service and the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, has served on the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Tribal Council, and participates in Tlingit history and culture events, including honoring the ancestors at the... Read More

Gene Ervine Gene Ervine

Gene Ervine grew up in Mt. Vernon, Washington and moved to Alaska in the 1970s. He has worked as a logger, an architectural history researcher, a carpenter, an exhibit planner, and a bureaucrat. He worked for the National Park Service in Alaska on the Russian Bishop's House Restoration Project in Sitka from 1976 to 1982, and as Resource Interpretive Specialist for the Interdisciplinary Resource Group at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Anchorage. He also writes poetry, helped found... Read More

Dave Galanin Dave Galanin

Dave Galanin (Kind'aa) is a Tlingit master silver carver of the Kaagwaantaan Clan from Sitka, Alaska. He comes from an artistic family. His grandfather, George Benson, was a noted master woodcarver, his mother and grandmother were accomplished sewers, and his brother, Will Burkhart, is also a carver. Dave apprenticed with the late master silver carver, Louis Minard, and has had a long affiliation with the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center at Sitka National Historical Park. He has been... Read More

George Hall George Hall

George Hall came to Alaska from Chicago, Illinois and had a long and successful career with the National Park Service in Alaska and Washington, DC. He started in 1953 as an administrative assistant at Sitka National Historical Park, was then upgraded to historian, and at one point was the park's Acting Superintendent. He then was Superintendent of Capital Parks in Washington, DC from 1963 to 1967, and Superintendent of Denali National Park and Preserve from 1967 to 1970. After retiring from... Read More

Fred Hope Fred Hope

Fred Hope (Shaaxhwaa Shaay Eesh) was a Tlingit elder of the Kiks.adi (Raven) Clan, Point House, who was born in Sitka, Alaska in 1934 to Tillie Howard and Andrew Hope. He graduated from Sheldon Jackson High School in 1954, commercially fished with his father, and served in the U.S. Army. He held various jobs throughout his life, including as a taxi driver, a laborer, and for  Alaska Lumber and Pulp until it closed in 1993, retiring as department supervisor. Fred was active in the Alaska... Read More

Ellen Hope Hays Ellen Hope Hays

Ellen Hope Hays (Yaa Yeil Tin/Kaa Katlin - "Raven Looking Forward") was a Tlingit elder of the Raven moiety, Kik’sadi Clan and Point House born in 1927 to Tillie and Andrew Hope in Sitka, Alaska. Ellen was a graduate of Sheldon Jackson School, and was awarded an honorary doctor of law degree from the University of Alaska in 1996. She spent her professional career with the National Park Service and in 1974 became the first woman and the first Alaska Native superintendent of a national park in... Read More

Mark Jacobs Jr. Mark Jacobs Jr.

Mark Jacobs, Jr. (Gusteiheen) was a Tlingit elder who was born in 1923 to Annie (Paul) and Mark Jacobs in Sitka, Alaska. He was a member of the Dakl'aweidi (Killer Whale) Clan. His Tlingit names were Saa.aat', Keet w', Oode'ishk'aduneek and Gusteiheen. A noted historian, he was the last male speaker of his lineage and house-group. He enjoyed speaking Tlingit with others and telling stories. After having served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he graduated from Sheldon Jackson... Read More

Irene Jimmy Irene Jimmy

Irene Jimmy (Xakwjeet Tláa) is a member of the Sitka Kiks.ádi Clan and was born and raised in Sitka, Alaska. She is a respected elder and traditional Tlingit weaver. She served as a board member of the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center at Sitka National Historical Park, where she also worked as an artist demonstrator and instructor sharing traditional Tlingit weaving methods. She was active in cultural and subsistence issues, and was a member of the Sitka Tribal Council. Irene Jimmy... Read More

Tommy Joseph Tommy Joseph

Tommy Joseph (Naal xák'w) is a master Tlingit wood carver who was born in 1964 in Ketchikan, Alaska and currently lives in Sitka, Alaska. He is a member of the Kaagwaantaan Clan. He is in charge of the carving shop at the Southeast Alaskan Indian Cultural Center at Sitka National Historical Park where he restores park totem poles, works on his own carving projects, teaches carving classes, and mentors beginning carvers. Tommy designed and was the head carver for the Katlian Pole raised at... Read More

Louis Minard Louis Minard

Louis Minard (Kaachdex) was a Tlingit silver carver of the Tsaagweidi Clan (Yellow Cedar House - Xaayihit) who was born in 1917 in Petersburg, Alaska. As a boy, he went to Sitka to attend Sheldon Jackson School and eventually made it his home. He joined the military, fought in World War II, was a cook, and worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps. Unlike many master carvers, Louis learned silver carving late in life. He began carving when he was in his late 50s after severe arthritis led... Read More

Al Perkins Al Perkins

Al Perkins (Tlay Tleesh) was a Tlingit elder who was a member of the Kiks.ádi Clan in Sitka, Alaska. He was involved in land claims efforts in the 1980s, especially during settlement of the Alaska National Interest Land Claims Act (ANILCA) and protection of local access to lands and resources. He served on the Sitka Commuity Association and the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Tribal Council. In the 1990s, he was the Kaa Tlein, or recognized "Big Man" of the Sitka Kiks.ádi clan and in 1999 was involved... Read More

Teri Rofkar Teri Rofkar

Teri Rofkar (Chais' Koowu Tla'a) was a Tlingit weaver and educator from Sitka, Alaska. She was a member of the Tákdeintaan Clan who was renowned for her mastery of Tlingit weaving and basketry. For more than 30 years, she practiced the traditional style of Raven’s Tail weaving and Spruce Root basketry, was a key advocate for Native art, and was particularly known for her efforts to keep the Tlingit artistic legacy alive. She utilized traditional sourcing and processing of materials, but also... Read More

Jan Steinbright Jackson Jan Steinbright Jackson

Jan Steinbright Jackson lives in Sitka, Alaska. She has been the Executive Director of the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center at Sitka National Historical Park, worked for the local public radio station, KCAW, and has served on the board of Sheldon Jackson Museum. As an artist herself, Jan has been involved with a variety of artistic and cultural endeavors in Sitka. She also is the author of a number of books about Alaska Native history and culture, including: Qayaqs &... Read More

Gil Truitt Gil Truitt

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... Read More

Nancy Yaw Davis Nancy Yaw Davis

Nancy Yaw Davis was born in Sitka, Alaska in 1936. Nancy's father, Leslie Yaw, was with the Presbyterian National Mission and worked at Sheldon Jackson School, so the family lived on the school campus until 1952, when they moved to Lincoln Street in Sitka. Nancy left for college at age eighteen, but maintained deep connections to the community and to Sitka National Historical Park, which was her playground. Nancy holds an M.A. from the... Read More

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