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Ellen Hope Hays, Interview 2
Ellen Hope Hays

This is a continuation of the interview with Ellen Hope Hays on December 8, 1998 by Kristen Griffin and Karen Brewster at the Sitka Tribe of Alaska office in Sitka, Alaska. Robi Craig, Tribal Anthropologist for the Sitka Tribe, was also present during the interview. There was so much to discuss with Ellen on the first day of her interview (Interview 1, Parts 1 and 2), that it carried over into a second day. In this third part of a three part interview, Ellen talks about the history and lifestyle of the Native people of Sitka, their experiences in the Cottages Community, and the importance of the Cottages. She looks at historic photographs related to the Cottages Community and identifies people in them and discusses what life was like in the Cottages, including community gatherings, attending church, and the role of music. She also talks about the relationship the Cottage residents had with Sitka National Historical Park and their use of the resources, the development and role of the Alaska Native Brotherhood, Tlingit business ventures, and changes to the Cottages and Sitka. Finally, Ellen reflects on her life and work with the National Park Service and the importance of having Natives tell their own history. 

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


1) Background information on the Cottage Community

2) Major events in contemporary times that affected the Natives of Sitka

3) Identifying people in a photograph of Cottage Community residents

4) Continues identifying people in a photograph of Cottage Community residents

5) Talks about the Cottage Community while looking at a map drawn of it

6) Discussion about the Cottage Community and map continued

7) Differences between life in the Cottage Community and the Native village in Sitka

8) Cottage Hall and its role in the Community

9) Discussing photographs of Cottage Hall

10) Identifying people in a photograph of the Presbyterian Church Community

11) Discussing a photograph of people holding band instruments and the role of music in the community

12) Discussing the photograph of people in a band continued

13) Discussing a photograph of girls with guitars and the role of music in the community

14) Cottage residents' relationship to the Park

15) Cottage residents' relationship to the Park continued

16) Changing relations between the Park Service and the Native people

17) Traditional use of the Park for resources

18) Playing in the Park as a child, and looking at a photograph of the Russian blockhouse in the Park

19) The destruction of the blockhouse in the Park, and the connection between the Cottage Community and the birth of the Alaska Native Brotherhood

20) The origin of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and its role in social and cultural change in Sitka

21) The development and role of the Alaska Native Brotherhood continued

22) The importance of the Cottages and the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) while looking at a group photograph of ANB members

23) Tlingit business ventures at the Cottages and in the village

24) Tlingit boatshops in Sitka

25) The story of the building of the boat "Princeton Hall," while looking at a photograph of it

26) Role of women in Tlingit society and in the Cottage Community

27) Changes to and the end of the Cottage Community in the 1950s

28) The Park expanding into the Cottages area, and differences between young people of the Cottages and young people of the village when she was growing up

29) Significance of the Cottage Community

30) Reflections of her life

31) Reflections on her work at the Park, and the role of Natives in telling their own history

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


Section 1: Indian River/ land -- Kiks.ádi/ Kaagwaantaan/ land -- value/ Russian American Company/ Sitka/ battle -- story/ battle -- ancestors/ Presbyterian Mission/ Sheldon Jackson campus/ Indian River -- resource use/ Christianity|

Section 2: Sheldon Jackson school/ battle -- story/ Old Sitka/ trade/ Alaska -- purchase/ government/ Presbyterian Church/ Russia -- capital/ Russian Fur Company/ Brady, John/ Reverend Austin/ Jackson, Sheldon/ Willard, ?/ Bailey, Olinda/ names -- use of/ battle -- return/ Tlingit -- loss/ students/ Sitka Training School/ history -- effect on people|

Section 3: Merrill, E.W./ Cottages -- Metlakatla Street/ clan -- resistance/ Sloan family/ Willard, Jenny/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- grandmother (mother's aunt)/ Sitka Training School/ Willard, John/ Haines/ Willard, Jenny -- mother/ Sloan Simpson, Mary/ Simpson, Peter/ Alaska Native Brotherhood/ Canada/ Father Duncan/ Metlakatla/ Simpson, Louis/ Simpson, Jenny/ Simpson, Jenny -- mother (Sloan)/ Cameron, Amelia Sloan/ Cameron, Don/ translator/ Bailey, Olinda/ naming -- Mission/ naming --Tlingit/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- mother/ Hope, Tillie Howard/ Howard, David| Click here for image.

Section 4: photograph -- dating/ Hope, Andrew/ James, Ray -- wife/ Cameron, Amelia Sloan -- son/ James, Ray -- brother Albert/ Truitt, Gil -- grandfather/ James, Ray -- sister Olinda/ Kadashan, Elizabeth/ Wrangell/ Juneau/ James, Elizabeth -- daughter/ Brady, Carol James Feller/ battle -- ancestors/ Jackson, Sheldon/ Cottages -- first inhabitants/ Kelly Street/ Sitka Training School/ houses -- different/ Chichagof Mine/ Young, Ralph/ Newell, John/ gold -- discovery/ Chichagof Island| Click here for image.

Section 5: Cottages/ Kelly Street -- differences/ Metlakatla Street/ Young, Ralph/ Newell, John/ Chichagof Island -- gold/ Chichagof Island -- community/ Anderson, Esther/ Anderson, Hazel/ Anderson, George/ residence -- location of/ grandmother -- lived with/ Simpson, Peter/ grandmother -- Sloan sister| Click here for image.

Section 6: Cottages/ residences -- location of/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- grandmother/ Simpsons/ Sloan, Mary/ Sloan, Mary -- mother/ Sloan family/ family -- history/ Wells family/ Sloan (Cameron), Amelia/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- grandmother/ Howard, Lottie Sloan/ Simpson, Louis/ Simpson, Esther/ Gordon, Alfred/ Tsimshian/ Metlakatla/ Hopson, George/ Peck Sr., Cyrus -- mother/ Hobson, Louisa/ marriage/ Russian/ tradition -- continuation of/ community -- Christian/ community -- unique| Click here for image.

Section 7: Cottages/ community -- model/ house -- style/ furniture -- different/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- grandmother/ lifestyle -- ahead of time/ lifestyle -- village/ church -- Russian Orthodox/ Tlingit/ church -- ceremonial/ church -- Presbyterian/ church -- differences|

Section 8: Cottages/ Cottage Hall/ Metlakatla Street/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- sister/ Cottage Hall -- foundation/ Alaska Native Brotherhood -- beginning/ Cottage Hall -- change/ band/ dance -- modern/ church -- influence/ freedom/ Cottage Hall -- uses|

Section 9: Cottages/ Cottage Hall -- importance of/ community/ Sitka Historical Society/ building -- material/ Cottages -- band| Click here for image.

Section 10: Presbyterian community/ Community Center/ children/ Walton, Rudolph/ Peck Sr., Cyrus/ social gathering/ Sheldon Jackson School/ Young, Ralph/ Price, Frank/ James, Ray/ Kitka, Herman/ Walton, Rudolph/ staff/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- grandmother/ pictures -- people/ curtains/ Mr. Truitt/ Simpson, Louis/ Willard, Jenny/ Walton, Mrs. Rudolph/ Cameron, Amelia/ "Cottage Clan"| Click here for image.

Section 11: music -- band/ Tlingit/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- mother/ clothing/ Merrill, E.W./ Hays, Ellen Hope -- grandmother/ Cameron, Amelia/ Mrs. Cook/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- mother's step-mother/ Truitt, Gil -- grandfather/ Mrs. Simpson/ Howard, George/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- grandfather/ Simpson, Peter/ Willard, John -- band leader/ Willard, Jenny/ music -- introduction to/ church -- Russian Orthodox/ church -- Greek Orthodox/ liturgy -- musical/ choir/ church -- Presbyterian/ instruments/ choruses -- band oriented/ Metlakatla| Click here for image.

Section 12: music -- band/ music -- type/ Alaska Native Brotherhood/ uniforms/ band --Tlingit/ Wanamaker, Andrew|

Section 13: Jackson, Sheldon/ girls/ music/ education -- music/ music -- introduction/ music -- church/ music -- band/ Salvation Army Band/ radio -- marching music/ music -- influence of/ instruments -- stringed/ church -- Russian Orthodox/ church -- Presbyterian/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- mother/ Sloan family/ Littlefield, Annie/ Littlefield, John -- grandmother| Click here for image.

Section 14: Cottages/ Park -- use of/ Sloan family/ invasion -- Russian-American Company/ battle/ battle -- survival march/ Baranof Island/ place -- connection to/ Park -- lack of meaning/ land -- ownership/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- grandmother/ Willard, Jennie/ battle -- feelings about/ beach flats -- importance of/ resources -- use of/ history -- knowledge of/ gathering -- memorial|

Section 15: Park -- use of/ battle -- memorial/ history/ songs/ memorial -- interruption/ event -- Tlingit/ Merrill, E.W./ Russian-American Company/ Park -- land use/ Visitor Center/ Kiks.ádi/ Sloan family/ Kaagwaantaan/ respect/ Visitor Center -- dedication/ National Park Service -- resentment toward/ Kiks.ádi -- elders/ National Park Service -- lack of cultural awareness/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- father/ culture -- lack of knowledge|

Section 16: National Park Service/ Visitor Center/ National Park Service -- relationship with the community/ employment -- Park/ Sloan family/ Kiks.ádi/ Park -- use of/ relationship -- improvement/ Cultural Center/ employment -- Kiks.ádi/ historians/ Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall|

Section 17: Park -- use of/ water supply/ Indian River/ fish -- Humpies/ fishing -- Fall/ fish -- preparation/ location -- benefit of/ resistance/ plants -- gathering/ plants -- berries/ plants -- ferns/ fish -- salmon/ fishing -- children/ fish -- selling|

Section 18: Park -- use of/ recreation/ Park -- playing/ blockhouse/ Yaw Davis, Nancy/ Yaw, Chuck/ blockhouse -- incorrect/ Russian/ totem poles/ Cottages -- games/ children -- responsibilities/ school/ village|

Section 19: blockhouse -- dismantling/ Hall, George/ blockhouse -- fire/ blockhouse -- ownership/ National Park/ offense/ Cottages/ Alaska Native Brotherhood/ Cottages -- significance of/ Cottages -- residents/ authority -- trust in/ church/ missionaries/ respect/ naming|

Section 20: naming/ missionaries/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- father/ Natives -- new breed/ missionaries -- influence/ change/ Presbyterian Mission/ Arctic Brotherhood/ Alaska Native Brotherhood/ brotherhood -- organization/ Alaska Native Brotherhood -- origin/ Paul, William/ culture -- traditional/ Alaska Native Brotherhood -- self-government/ Tlingit -- uncles/ Alaska Native Brotherhood -- members|

Section 21: Alaska Native Brotherhood/ Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall/ social events/ dances/ appearance -- public/ respect/ dress -- public/ Alaska Native Brotherhood -- behavior/ storytellers/ Alaska Native Brotherhood -- membership/ missionaries -- encouragement from|

Section 22: Mission -- newspaper/ "Verstovian"/ Merrill, E.W./ Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall/ Cottages/ Hall -- building/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- father/ culture -- Alaska Native Brotherhood/ church -- Christian/ traditions -- maintaining/ lifestyle -- subsistence| Click here for image.

Section 23: business -- Tlingit/ Cottages/ handcrafts -- sale of/ trade -- Tlingit/ Merrill, E.W./ Sitka/ Park -- visitors/ Willard, John/ Willard, Jenny/ house -- craft sales/ Mrs. Cook/ garage/ village -- business/ Simpson, Peter/ boatshop -- Peter Simpson/ sawmill -- Sheldon Jackson/ Sheldon Jackson School|

Section 24: village -- grocery stores/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- father/ boat builder/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- grandfather/ Howard, George/ change -- World War II/ boats -- changing/ boatshop -- Peter Simpson/ boatshop -- Howard Brothers/ boat -- "Princeton Hall"/ Howard, Glenn/ Howard, Liz/ boatshop -- location/ Pyramid Packing Company/ "Princeton Hall" -- building of|

Section 25: boat -- building/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- father/ boatshop -- Howard Brothers/ Princeton Hall/ National Mission/ transportation -- students/ Haines/ Metlakatla/ boat -- missionary/ boat -- purpose/ fundraising/ Sheldon Jackson School -- recruiting/ Navy -- ownership/ Hope, Andrew/ Smith, Reverend Herbert Booth/ King, Everett B.| Click here for image.

Section 26: women -- role of/ Cottages/ Alaska Native Brotherhood/ Tlingit -- matrilineal/ descendency/ knowledge -- historical/ honor/ Sloan, Amelia/ New Presbyterian Women's Society/ church -- social activities/ church -- elders/ mission -- support of/ Alaska Native Sisterhood/ fundraising/ women -- organized/ New Tlingit/ women -- caretakers|

Section 27: women -- role of/ appearance -- public/ Cottages -- alcohol/ Jackson, Sheldon/ alcohol -- problems/ Cottages -- changes/ oldtimers/ residents -- movement/ Brady, Isabella (Sing)/ Navy/ school -- boarding/ community -- dissolving/ Park -- buying property/ Metlakatla Street/ Cottages -- weakening|

Section 28: Park -- buying property/ Community -- response/ Peck, Cyrus/ Maxey, Lucille Sing -- mother/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- grandmother/ Hays, Ellen Hope -- grandfather/ Cottages -- changes/ social differences -- Cottages and village/ language -- English/ clan -- protocol/ language -- Tlingit/ school -- success in/ childhood -- happiness/ language -- barrier|

Section 29: Cottages -- significance/ Cottages -- residents/ community -- Tlingit/ Sitka Training School/ Cottages -- origin/ Tlingit -- relations/ Sitka/ community -- growth/ Jukebox -- trigger memories/ society -- new approach/ life -- improvement|

Section 30: life -- guided/ Sloan family/ Cottages -- women/ clan -- naming/ Cottages -- influence/ battle/ identity -- learning/ Park -- relationship to culture/ Tlingit -- belief/ survival/ employment -- Park ranger|

Section 31: Park -- relationship with community/ offense -- lack of/ employment -- Park/ Cultural Center/ Indian/ Natives -- involvement of/ project -- unique|