July 4, 1871-December 27, 1947
Tshimshian; Killer Whale
Peter Simpson grew up in Canada with his Aunt and Uncle, Henry and Alice Ridely. In 1857, Peter Simpson moved to Metlakatla. In 1892, he and a few others moved to Point Gravina across of Ketchikan. There he organized a small village and built a sawmill, which is believed to be the first business built and managed entirely by Alaskan Natives. It was destroyed by a fire in 1904, and Peter moved to Juneau. Eventually he moved to Sitka, where he became a respected boat builder. Then he started attending school at the Sitka Training School/Sheldon Jackson because he wanted to further his education for himself and the native future.
Peter Simpson was referred to "the Father of the ANB" because he cared deeply for native issues and fought for them. He took great pride in being a founder of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and served as Grand President from 1913 to 1973. Peter Simpson was also very passionate about the native land claims and encouraged the younger generations to fight for their land. His passion eventually influenced the start of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
Peter Simpson spent his time teaching at Sheldon Jackson about boat building and operating sawmills. He designed and built the SJS; the school work boat, in 1937, and eventually became a respected member of Sheldon Jackson.
Peter Simpson married Mary Slogan and together they raised fifteen children. His wife died of pneumonia in 1936, and Peter Simpson later died in 1947. He was thought to be one of the greatest leaders for Alaska natives.