Herb Hope Eulogy
by Andy Hope III
My name is Andy Hope. My Tlingit name is Xaastanch. I belong to
Sik'nax.ádi clan of the Wolf moiety. My father's clan
is the Kiks. ádi of the Raven moiety. Herb Hope is my father's
younger brother. Herb's early years were before my time, so I spoke
with my aunt Margaret and Uncle Gil Truitt for thoughts about that
Like many in my family, my father and Herb were affected by tuberculosis
in their early years. My father spent years in a sanitarium in Tacoma.
Herb was also hospitalized in the mid forties. When he was discharged,
he was on crutches, later he had to use a cane. Gil Truitt remembers
Herb playing basketball in the streets with that cane. He was a
real competitor. He overcame his handicaps to compete in basketball.
He was one of the first Natives to attend Sitka High School and
one of the first to play as a starter on the SHS boy's varsity team.
Margaret remembers Herb and his brother Percy taking the troller
buddy, built by Andrew Hope, out into the Sitka harbor at a very
early age, perhaps they were 8 or 9 years old.
He was a fisherman, outdoors man, boat builder and carpenter. His
closest friends when he was growing up in Sitka were Cyrus Williams,
Jr., Virgil Liberty, Frank Sam and Harold Kitka. These men, with
Herb's leadership, became active in the Alaska Native Brotherhood
at a very early age. They renovated the Sitka ANB Hall.
Herb worked hard at whatever he did. He quietly helped a lot of
people. He was a generous man. He was a leader, but he was a follower
when he had to be. He was respected by all generations. He was,
in Gil Truitt's opinion, Andrew Hope's right hand man.
He was very blunt at times: clear and to the point. Most people
appreciated this trait.
My earliest memories of Herb are of him and I standing in the
front yard of Tillie and Andrew Hope's house in the early evening,
looking for the Russian satellite Sputnik. He was cursing the communists.
I remember him giving me money and telling me that I was being punished
and had to go to the movies.
I joined the ANB at the 1971 convention in Sitka William Paul gave
the charge to the new members and my father gave the oath. It was
a moving experience.
I attended every ANB and Tlingit and Haida convention from 1973-78
and Herb was there at every one. Herb and Dad were good teachers.
I also learned from Aunt Ellen, and from Fred and Percy. At times,
Ellen, Herb, Dad and I were candidates for office of Tlingit and
Haida Executive Committee, and some complained that the Hope family
was trying to dominate. We usually canceled each other out, though
Dad was elected several times.
Herb was constantly working to initiate dialogue on how to improve
and challenge the organization. At the 1974 ANB convention in Yakutat,
we successfully lobbied for a constitutional amendment to schedule
the ANB convention in October in even numbered years, to allow ANB
to participate in the State and Federal elections in a meaningful
He loved talking about methods and strategies to get Native people
to vote in elections: tribal, state, federal, and fraternal. He
was one of the best election strategist and tacticians that I have
One night at the 1974 Yakutat convention, we were socializing.
The band played the song "Squaws Along the Yukon." Herb walked up
to the leader of the band after the song was over and told him that
if he played that song again, he would throw the guy out the front
window of the bar. We didn't hear that song again that week.
At the 1987 ANB convention in Sitka, the 75th anniversary of the
ANB, the Kiks.ádi clan hosted a luncheon. One of the Kiks.
ádi elders told the account of the Battle of Sitka between
the Russians and the Tlingit, which happened at the beginning of
the 19th century. After the lunch, Herb was livid. He felt that
the person telling the story had told a whitewashed, missionary
version. He was determined to document the Tlingit warrior version
of the story.
So began the Kiks. ádi Survival March Project, organized
by Herb and carried out with the assistance of Fred Hope. I provided
logistical and research support to my uncles from time to time.
In 1989, we filmed high quality footage of Herb explaining his reasons
for undertaking the project.
Herb presented a report on the project at the First Conference
of Tlingit Tribes and Clans in Haines in May 1993. A summary of
the project written by Herb will appear in the forthcoming "Will
the Time Ever Come?" A Tlingit Source Book, edited by Tom Thornton
and myself, to be published by the Alaska Native Knowledge Network
in the spring of 2000.
We had a wonderful family gathering in mid September during the
Kiks.ádi Pole Raising ceremonies. Ellen, Percy, Herb, Dad,
Fred and Margaret were together for the first time in a long time,
and as it turned out, the last time.
Herb and Dad were very good teachers. I am happy that I had the
opportunity to learn from them. We have to appreciate good people
when they walk among us.
I ask Native men to contemplate the life and legacy of Herb Hope.
I challenge Native men to meet your respective responsibilities
to family, community and to yourselves. Stand up to your responsibility
to make things better for future generations. Stand up to your responsibility
to improve Native organizations. Work to improve education opportunities
for Natives. Stand up for the Native rights that Herb Hope fought
for. Look at the path taken by Herb, the tracks he laid down, and
continue that good journey. We owe it to ourselves and we owe it
to people like Herb Hope.