Citizenship and its attendant rights and duties was an area of Brotherhood interest from the earliest days of the organization. It was by its very nature a problem that offered few angles of approach to the people concerned, and the Indians had no white friends to take up the cudgels for them. The Indians themselves argued that since they had never assumed the status of wards of the Government through treaty, and did not reside on reservations, they were free and equal citizens of the United States. The plain truth is that this argument was fallacious; the third article of the Treaty of Cession did provide that "civilized" inhabitants—creoles, and Christianized Eskimo and Aleut, who were all regarded as Russian subjects—should, if they remained in Alaska for 3 years after cession, become United States citizens,22 but although a few individuals might have qualified, the most of the Tlingit and Haida were plainly regarded as "uncivilized tribes" for whom no provision was made as to citizenship. Later on, provisions were made by which an Indian could become a citizen. It was held that the General Allotment Act of 1887 applied to Alaska, so that citizenship was possible for persons who "severed tribal relationship and adopted the habits of civilization." A Territorial Act of 1915 provided a procedure through which a native, by proving his qualifications as a voter, and demonstrating his abandonment of tribal customs and his complete adoption of a civilized way of life, could obtain a certificate of citizenship.23 It appears that very few Tlingit took advantage of this method, however. Eventually, of course, the Citizenship Act of June 2, 1924, included Alaskan natives and resolved the problem.

William Paul regards an episode that took place in 1922 as of major significance in forcing popular acceptance of the right he felt the Indian should have. This was a test case of an individual Indian's right to vote. As a matter of fact the case did not really affect the legal status of natives, but it was accepted as doing so in the popular mind, both white and Indian. Prior to this time, Indians were generally barred from the polls in southeast Alaska. Some, however, had voted regularly in primary and Territorial elections since the effective date of the act creating the Territorial Legislature. It is not clear just what the bases of this discrimination between individual Indians were; presumably they reflected especially friendly relationships between certain Indians and the election officers. During the 1922 primaries, Charlie Jones, an elderly Indian who was the seventh incumbent of the "Chief Shakes" title at Wrangell, appeared at the polls to cast his ballot. Jones was a person who was highly respected by the Indians because of his high status in the native system of rank. He seems to have been quite conservative in some respects, progressive in others. Jones had apparently voted in previous elections, but on this occasion he was challenged by the official at the voting place and not permitted to vote. Perplexed by this unexpected turn of events Jones went in search of an educated Stikine woman, Mrs. Tamaree (the mother of the Paul brothers), to request her assistance, assuming that he had misunderstood because of his rather limited command of English. Mrs. Tamaree returned to the polls with him and insisted that he be given a ballot and allowed to cast it. When he did so he was arrested on a charge of voting "at a time when and a place where he was not eligible to vote," a felony, and Mrs. Tamaree was also arrested (and released immediately on her own recognizance) for aiding and abetting the commission of a felony. William Paul immediately came to the aid of the two defendants. The case seemed made to order to test the long-standing demands of the Alaska Native Brotherhood for citizenship rights and the franchise for Indians in Alaska. Naturally, as well, Paul was forced to take action to assist his mother. There is some indication also that the issue was forced to a certain extent by the opposing side, the anti-Indian white forces at Wrangell. For their purposes—if it is true that there was a deliberate effort to prevent Indians from voting once and for all—the Charlie Jones case seemed a good one, for Jones was an elderly Indian who adhered to Indian customs in many respects, was illiterate, and had a very limited command of English. As Mr. Paul recalls, the development of the case did not in final analysis revolve about any fine technical points of law but was resolved principally on the basis of testimony concerning Jones' actions as a member of the community of Wrangell. He himself testified that he had always been a law-abiding person, had paid taxes dutifully even though Indians were not required to pay taxes at that time, and had participated to the greatest possible extent in all matters relating to the public welfare. For example, during the war years he had purchased war bonds for himself and all members of his family, and always subscribed generously to Red Cross drives and to similar worthy causes. He had voted in previous elections, being permitted to do so by election officials who knew him well (knew he was an Indian), because he understood that voting was the duty of a good citizen. He was found not guilty of the charge of illegal voting, and the right of Indians to vote in Alaska was accepted. Thus, according to this story, which incidentally was referred to as fact by all the informants on A.N.B. history and policy, before Federal legislation was passed that gave the franchise to Indians (1924), the issue no longer existed in Alaska.

The participation of the Alaska Native Brotherhood in this case was primarily through the activity of Paul himself. The case was, of course, directly in line with the avowed campaign of the Brotherhood for citizenship rights for Indians. Various members of the Brotherhood made themselves available as witnesses for the defense, and in addition the Brotherhood provided funds to finance the trial. This victory set the stage for the development of the Brotherhood as a political force. Once the right of Alaskan natives to vote was firmly established they were in a position to make their influence felt in any public matter. Another effect of this case was to establish William Paul in the public mind as a champion of Indian rights and to assure his influence in the Brotherhood.


Once the Indian's right to vote was assured, the stage was set for the development of Mr. Paul's theories as to the potential value to the Indian of political activity. Obviously, even in the 1920's and 1930's, the Indians in the First Judicial District (southeast Alaska) were a minority group, but the white population was not so large but that a solid block of two thousand or so Indian votes, if they could be organized, could be a potent factor, even to the point of tipping the scales in favor of one or the other of the two major parties. The proof positive of this was demonstrated in 1926, when William Paul himself, running as a Republican in nominally Democratic Alaska, was elected to the Territorial Legislature. Paul did not, of course, depend entirely on the Indian vote. He had important support from the party organization. But the Indian backing, organized through the Brotherhood, and through the A.N.B. official journal, the Alaska Fisherman, was probably a crucial factor.

It has been remarked that, almost from its founding, the Alaska Fisherman stressed politics and political issues. In addition, a political committee was created as a subcommittee of the Brotherhood Executive Committee. This body has as its principal function consideration of the various candidates, and recommends to the membership those considered to be favorable to legislation desired by the A.N.B. Most Indians in southeast Alaska, like most of their white Alaskan friends, tend to vote the Democratic ticket, but A.N.B. political policy stresses voting for the candidate, not the party. The Political Committee does not hesitate to recommend crossing party lines.

In recent years, owing in great part to the emphasis on political action, a number of Indians have represented the First Judicial District in the Territorial Legislature, both in the House and the Senate. In 1950, three Tlingit were elected or reelected to the, House, and one had been elected to the Territorial Senate, in 1948, which is good representation (there are four Senators from each of the four Judicial Districts, and on the basis of populational representation, 6 members of the House, out of a total of 24, from the First District). It is worth adding that all these men, who are well-educated, sophisticated individuals, served creditably.

During the peak of the Brotherhood's political influence, the organization was able to obtain some legislation that it wanted, such as the Antidiscrimination Act of 1946. Consideration indicates however that this influence is on the wane. Not only is the white population increasing rapidly through immigration from the States, so that the Indian vote is shrinking percentagewise, but the factional split within the A.N.B. has affected its political solidarity. For example, in the fall of 1952, the Political Committee, whether through inability to agree or through sloth, failed to recommend a slate of candidates. William Paul, shortly before the elections, came out publicly in opposition to the Indian candidates (Peratrovich for Senator, and Representative candidates, Hope, Johnson, and Nelson), all of whom were aligned against him in the A.N.B.24 All the Indian candidates except Mr. Johnson, who ran as a Republican, were defeated. Many Indians attributed their defeat to Paul's actions, an interpretation which widened the schism, although actually the Republican sweep (all offices except that of Delegate) was more probably an expression of the pro-Republican sentiment of voters throughout the Nation that year. Actually, according to the unofficial but nearly complete election returns published by the Daily Alaska Empire, the Indian villages stood almost solidly behind the Indian candidates.25 The split consequently probably did more harm to the organization's solidarity than it did to those candidates, in the long run.


As already stated, the Brotherhood, at Louis Paul's urging, had altered its stand from the original vague and generalized one of "good education for Indian children" to a specific position against the exclusion of Indian children from Territorial public schools. While the Bureau of Education maintained schools in the purely Indian villages and near all of the white towns of which there were sizable Indian populations, it was often difficult or inconvenient for families resident in white towns to send their children to Indian schools. In addition, there was a strong feeling, whether justified or not, that the instruction in the Indian schools was not up to the standards of the Territorial public school education. Some informants also state that they felt it important, since their children would have to grow up and compete in a white man's world, that they be given the opportunity to compete on equal grounds with the whites in the public schools. As in the case of the Indians' right to vote, there was considerable variation in practice regarding exclusion of Indian children. Some children were permitted to attend public schools and others were not. At an early date a test case was brought in Sitka to try to force the acceptance of certain mixblood children in Sitka Public School.26 This case was lost on the grounds that the children's parents "did not lead a civilized type of life." The children's stepfather was, it is said, urged to appeal the case but he did not do so, partly because of the expense and partly because he was afraid of making enemies among the whites among whom he lived and for whom he worked. In the course of events several similar incidents occurred in which Indian children or part-Indian children were barred from attending public schools, but either the parents were unwilling to force the issue for one reason or another or there were some factors involved which made the cases undesirable as test cases. Finally, in 1929, two Indian girls who had been attending the public school at Ketchikan were told that they could no longer continue there but must enroll in the Indian school at nearby Saxman. The children are said to have been good students with good records and were of a sophisticated, highly acculturated family. According to one account related to me, the expulsion of the children from the public school was actually less a direct attempt at discrimination than a sort of "deal" between the public school officials and those of the Indian school. According to this version, the Indian school lacked only a few pupils to qualify for an additional teacher on its staff, since the number of teachers permitted was based on some fixed pupil-teacher ratio. The officials therefore requested the officials of the Ketchikan Public School to send as many Indian pupils as possible to them. Some of these Indian children had never attended an Indian school. The public school people, as a favor to their colleagues, cooperated by barring a number of Indian children from further attendance. When the father of two of the youngsters went before the school board and indicated his intention of making an issue of the matter, the school authorities claimed that the action had been taken because of crowded conditions and shortage of space in the school. William Paul was called in, or volunteered his services, as attorney for the father of the children, bringing suit against the school board.27 Finally the right of the children to attend the school of their choice was established, the judge ordering that the school accept them, and, it is said, stating in his opinion that if a shortage of space did in fact exist in the school, it was the duty of the school board to provide more space. From that time on, Indian children have attended public schools throughout southeast Alaska. In recent years provision has been made whereby the Territory is compensated by the Federal Government for providing schooling for children.

It has already been remarked that even at an early date many Indians claimed to be dissatisfied with the instruction in the schools established for them by the Bureau of Education, and later operated by the Alaska Native Service. It is difficult to appraise the extent to which this attitude had any real basis and that to which it was simply a way of expressing the Indians' protest at what they felt to be discrimination in their exclusion from white schools. Certainly many of the teachers in the Indian schools were both well-qualified and sympathetic with the Indians. In any event, even after the right of Indian children to attend public schools was firmly established through the test case just described, the Indians' attitude continued. It was in part reinforced by the avowed policy of the Alaska Native Service to "work itself out of a job," in other words to reduce its services as the natives progress in acculturation to a point where a special administration is no longer needed. In recent years village after village in southeast Alaska has incorporated itself either as a school district or as a city under Territorial law, and has taken over the operation of its own school. By either of these two methods the village school becomes affiliated with the Territorial system of education. The various properties, including school buildings and teachers' quarters, are transferred to Territorial or community ownership by the Alaska Native Service and the Territory contributes a substantial amount of funds for the operation of the school. This contribution amounts to 85 percent of the school's total budget for operation and teachers' salaries. The local community must provide only 15 percent of the budget. In addition the schools are entitled to receive allotments from the Territorial tobacco tax which is earmarked for school construction and maintenance. The tobacco tax contribution is a sizable one which may run to several thousand dollars a year even in the case of a school in a rather small community. By the fall of 1952 all but two of the schools in the Indian villages in southeast Alaska, Hydaburg and Angoon, had been taken over by the communities and affiliated with the Territorial system. The expressed policy of the Alaska Native Brotherhood in this matter favors the taking over of the schools but recommended from the beginning that it be done gradually as the villages are able to handle the burden.


The subject of reservations has been a source of bitter contention. There was a feeling on the part of many people that since the Indians had never been on reservations it would be degrading and a step backward for reservations to be established. Most people say that this sentiment grew up in the early years of this century when a considerable number of youths were sent to Indian schools in the States, particularly to Chemawa in Oregon and to Carlisle. It is certain that they met young Indians from reservations in the States and occasionally were able to visit their new friends' homes and were very unfavorably impressed by what they considered to be the segregation and discrimination of reservation life. In point of fact, although this may have been one of the sources of influence shaping this attitude, it seems probable that another very important source of anti-reservation sentiment was the philosophy of a director of Carlisle Institute, Gen. R.H. Pratt, USA (Ret.). General Pratt, whose influence on his students seems to have been very great, was very strongly against reservations as a technique of solving the Indian problem. He apparently believed that Indians should be disseminated among the white population as rapidly as possible and encouraged to lose their tribal and racial identity until they eventually merged with and disappeared into the American population. This pattern of thinning undoubtedly influenced many Tlingit leaders, a number of whom had attended Carlisle.

Of course there was little question of likelihood of reservations being created in southeast Alaska for many years. No such institutions had been created by the Russians nor were they set up by the United States in the early days following the purchase of the Territory. The only reservation in southeast Alaska was that on Annette Island created under very special circumstances for Father Duncan's Tsimshian congregation.28 Reservations really became an issue in southeast Alaska and within the Alaska Native Brotherhood in 1931 in connection with the Indian Reorganization Act (sometimes known as the Wheeler-Howard Act). This measure had been written primarily for the benefit of Indians in the States, most of whom reside or had resided on reservations. It did not fit the Alaskan situation; in fact, a special supplementary measure had to be passed to make it applicable to Alaska, that is to say, to make its beneficiary provisions available to Alaskan Indians. In the original form of the bill it appeared from the language that Alaskan Indians would have to request that reservations be established for them in order to take advantage of the various provisions of the measure. This caused a good deal of controversy and immediate rejection of the whole reorganization program by the Indians of southeast Alaska. Even after the act was made applicable to the Territory in 1936 (by Public Law No. 538, 74th Cong.), misunderstanding and suspicion of the I.R.A. persisted, and probably delayed the acceptance of the measure. It also brought up the whole question of reservations as a live and controversial issue.

A considerable number of people, particularly the leaders in the Alaska Native Brotherhood and many of the younger men, feel that establishment of reservations would be degrading. They consider that living on a reservation would be in effect turning the clock back and would be a form of segregation. They are proud of their status as full and equal citizens and feel themselves able to compete with whites on equal terms. Many of them also believe, rightly or wrongly, that the creation of reservations, and their residence on reservations, would result in actual loss of their rights of citizenship and other privileges for which they have fought. Whether this is actually true is something of a question. It seems rather doubtful that the prerogatives of citizenship, once awarded and exercised, could be revoked by the setting aside of tracts of land. Nonetheless, many Indians believe that somehow or other they would lose their rights.

There are, however, two groups who take a different view on the reservation question. One of these includes a fair proportion of the elderly, less sophisticated members of the communities who have become persuaded that life on a reservation would carry with it more security, with Government-provided medical and welfare care. These people essentially are those who cannot or no longer wish to compete with the white man. The other pro-reservation group consists of people who see the establishment of reservations as the safest and surest way of retaining control of any sizable area of land. They have seen the example of Metlakatla whose people on their reservation have for years controlled their land to a point of being able to refuse outsiders permission to come ashore on the island, and in addition have been able to control access to the surrounding waters and fishing grounds. This to many Tlingit and Haida, who even today do not hold deeds to the lands their own homes are set on, seems like a highly attractive situation. Various influential white friends and advisers of the Indians have similarly been divided in their stand on the reservation question and have argued with equal vehemence for both views.

The reservation question created considerable discussion at a series of annual conventions of the Alaska Native Brotherhood. Opinion was for a time about equally divided for and against, and most people concerned felt that the Brotherhood as a whole should take a formal stand one way or the other on the question. However, there seemed no possible compromise. It looked for a time, about 1945-46, as though the reservation issue might fatally split the organization. One point that has been very much in the consciousness of the leaders of the organization despite their past and present disagreements is that the strength of the Brotherhood lies in its solidarity, so they decided that they would rather slight the reservation issue than risk a schism. The most effective compromise that they were able to work out, they passed at the 1946 convention in the form of a resolution which provided in effect for a sort of local option on the question, with Brotherhood approval. That is to say, any community that wished to have a reservation created for it might do so and the Brotherhood would support that community in its request and provide all possible assistance. On the other hand, if a community did not want a reservation it might refuse the establishment of one and the Brotherhood as a whole was pledged to help such a community to resist the (unlikely) attempts to force a reservation upon it.


Attention seems to have been first directed to the land problem through an attack by modern means, including demands for compensation made through the courts, in the late 1920's. On one occasion Judge Wickersham, then Delegate from Alaska to Congress and longtime friend of the Indians of Alaska, attended an annual convention of the Brotherhood to discuss a measure he proposed to offer to Congress that would authorize the Indians to file suit against the United States Government for compensation for lands which had been "taken from them." Under the provisions of the measure proposed by Wickersham any compensation received would be paid the Indians, divided up on a per capita basis in three lump-sum payments. This resolution died a-borning on Capitol Hill.

An act known as the Tlingit and Haida Jurisdictional Act, of June 15, 1935, gave these Indians the right to bring suit for claims against the United States in the United States Court of Claims. This piece of legislation had been introduced by Delegate Dimond, and was one of a series of such bills which Delegates from Alaska had brought before Congress since Wickersham's initial effort. To my knowledge, the Alaska Native Brotherhood had little or nothing to do with proposing this bill. Dimond apparently made the move on the basis of his knowledge of the situation, and his opinion that passage might provide a first step toward clarifying the whole confused picture of land and land rights in the Territory. The Tlingit pooled claims, which amounted to $35,000,000 "for the value of the land, hunting, and fishing rights taken without compensation," were presented in a suit which was dismissed by the Court of Claims on the ground that the attorney whom the Tlingit had chosen could not legally represent them, since he had not been approved by the Secretary of the Interior. Suit under this act is still possible, for although the time for filing was limited, and expired, it has been extended a number of times by Congress.

In 1946 authority was again given the Indians to file suit in connection with their land claims, under a somewhat different procedure. This legislation was not introduced as a result of the efforts of the Indians of southeast Alaska directly but was initiated in Congress for the benefit of all Indians in the United States and Alaska. The Office of Indian Affairs established certain procedures in connection with these Indian suits. Among other things they prepared a standard form contract for the Indians to complete with the attorneys who are to represent them. It appears that the way in which the land claims would be handled was brought before several conventions of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and there was found to be sharp disagreement over several issues. Finally at a convention held at Haines, a temporary committee was designated to take the problem up outside of the Brotherhood. Meanwhile the Office of Indian Affairs became impatient because the Brotherhood, which had taken over the subject of land claims, was accomplishing nothing. The Alaska Native Service arranged to hold in Wrangell a special meeting of delegates who were to be elected by each community. The group that met in Wrangell had no official connection with the Brotherhood. It did, however, as might be expected, include most of the leaders of that organization, and the Brotherhood Executive Committee appears to have been very strongly represented. It was resolved to create a special organization which would maintain its separateness from the Brotherhood. It was also decided that the claims should be pooled and presented in the name of the organization of delegates attending the Wrangell meeting, who designated themselves the Tlingit-Haida Land Claims Association. (It is my understanding that Yakutat remained aloof from this association.) The source of this suggestion for pooling the claims is not known to me.

There was originally general agreement, or so it appears, on the method of handling the joint suit of the Tlingit-Haida Association, although subsequently some different ideas have appeared. Klawock and Kake dropped out of the association because of the large areas being proposed as reservations to be established by the Secretary of the Interior. More recently claims of certain Stikine clans, and those of a certain group from Angoon, have been filed separately.

The reservation question previously discussed entered into the discussions about the land claims, and was the cause of disagreements which led to the withdrawal of certain communities and also evidently led to the subject being barred from the floor at A.N.B. conventions. (This provision does seem to protect the A.N.B. from the danger of a factional split even though in the 1952 convention the method of discussing the land claims was to adjourn the convention temporarily, then call the same delegations to order as delegates to the Tlingit-Haida Land Claims Association.) The point seems to have been that some communities wanted to retain title to and possession of the lands they now use by requesting those lands to be set aside as reservations. According to this way of thinking only those lands, use of which had definitely been given up, would be included in the suit or suits claiming compensation. As discussed elsewhere, the reservation issue is a burning one among these people. Many still feel that only by divorcing the old land problem from the Native Brotherhood, at least nominally, was a factional split in the Brotherhood prevented.

Although a signatory committee was appointed at the Wrangell meeting and officially authorized to sign attorney contracts for the association, some time elapsed before the contract was finally signed. To date (1953) little progress has been [made] in the settlement of these claims primarily because of the lack of agreement on the part of the Indians, and because of the development of a faction which is strongly opposed to the attorney with whom the contract was finally signed. The principal developments so far have been the relinquishment in 1949 of Hydaburg's overall claims in return for the establishment of a reservation comprised of something over 100,000 acres of land in the vicinity of Hydaburg, created out of a portion of Tongass National Forest. (The reservation incidentally included the water surrounding the land areas.) In 1951 the Government, on behalf of the Indians of Hydaburg, brought suit against a packing company to enjoin it from operating fish traps which it had within those waters. In the fall of 1952 after the case had been heard a decision was handed down to the effect that the Hydaburg Reservation had not been legally created and therefore an injunction could not be brought against the defendant, preventing him from operating the traps. This of course left the status of the Haida claims, including those which they relinquished in the return for the reservation, entirely up in the air.

Another change in the picture has been introduced within recent times by the filing of suits for compensation in the names of the individual clans rather than by pooling the several claims of the members of the modern communities. This procedure appears to have a certain logic particularly in view of the fact that the claims are based upon aboriginal rights of ownership and it was, of course, the local clan which in aboriginal times was the owner of land rights. However, this idea, which will lend itself more readily toward distribution of any monetary compensation received on a per capita basis among surviving members of the clan, is violently opposed by many members of the Tlingit-Haida Land Claims Association who want to use any compensation received to establish funds for community use, following the pattern established at Metlakatla.

The whole matter of the land claims in southeast Alaska is at the present time a major issue which, until it is settled one way or the other, can be expected to retard development of the region's resources, particularly timber resources. For that reason it would not be proper to go into it at any greater length here except to bring out the fact that the Alaska Native Brotherhood has played a very peculiar role in connection with the Indians' claims. After taking the initiative but not accomplishing very much in the beginning, it officially divorced itself from all connection with the land problem in order to avoid the danger of an open thoroughgoing split in the organization. Nonetheless, this was essentially a subterfuge because the personnel of the so-called Tlingit-Haida Land Claims Association includes most of the leaders in the Brotherhood. Also, some informants allege that Brotherhood channels were utilized to raise funds to cover certain expenses of the Land Claims Association although just what these expenses were and just what funds were actually raised, if any, is not known to me.


As is quite apparent from the early issues of the Alaska Fisherman, the A.N.B. has been sympathetic to the cause of organized labor. Indians as individuals affiliated themselves with various fishermen's and other unions. There have been a great number of fishermen's unions in southeast Alaska; I am not able to trace their complex histories in detail. The general pattern seems to be that of numerous independent or variously affiliated locals, which competed bitterly with each other, and in time merged into larger organizations which broke up, before long, into separatist locals again. At one point, however, the A.N.B. entered the labor-relations field, and for a few years it was a major unifying force, until the basic pattern repeated itself. About 1939 at the annual convention a resolution was passed whereby the Alaska Native Brotherhood could act as the bargaining agency, in accordance with the provisions of the Wagner Act, for fishermen and cannery workers. The fishermen's and cannery workers' union which was to be represented by the Brotherhood had a succession of names in the course of its relatively short history. After a short time it merged with an American Federation of Labor organization to become the Alaska Marine Workers' Union. However, the Alaska Native Brotherhood retained its key function as bargaining agency. The Grand Camp of the A.N.B. was the advisory body. William Paul was the advisory agent and appears to have been the primary mover in developing the whole arrangement. He also became secretary of the Alaska Marine Workers' Union. The way the organization operated is this: The Executive Committee of the A.N.B. determined each year the pay scales and the prices for raw fish that should be arranged with the canneries. Each local camp of the A.N.B. representing the local branch of the union negotiated with the cannery or canneries for which its people worked and fished. In effect, the first agreement worked out each year set the level for all agreements on wages and working conditions.

Putting the Alaska Native Brotherhood in the labor business in this way required certain formal changes in both structure and policy. In the first place, the bargaining agency could not be an organization in which membership was restricted on such grounds as race. That is to say, membership could not he limited to Indians or even natives of Alaska. A revision in the constitution had to be made which would permit non-Indians to become members. A provision was therefore made that distinguished between full membership (for which natives only were eligible), and "associate members" who were not natives but who had "the privileges of a full member in the collective bargaining agency." The dues of these non-Indian members were the same as those of full members, and they were in addition liable for the union dues, The Alaska Marine Workers' Union which included or was affiliated with the Alaska Fisherman's Cooperative Organization (set up separately on the grounds that a fisherman is not an employee but an independent contractor) was for some time an important organization in southeast Alaska.

There had been, apparently prior to the creation of the Alaska Marine Workers' Union, a union known as the Alaska Purse Seiners and Cannery Workers. This organization functioned for a number of years primarily in the Ketchikan and west coast of Prince of Wales areas. It had no direct affiliation with the Alaska Native Brotherhood nor was it organized on racial lines in any way, but included both Indian and white fishermen and cannery workers, and probably oriental cannery workers as well (although I am not certain of this last point). Its membership, at any rate, included a large number of Indians. Frank Peratrovich of Klawock was very active in this organization. It is possible that the success of the Alaska Purse Seiners' and Cannery Workers' Union provided a model on which Paul organized the other group. The Purse Seiners' and Cannery Workers' Union was affiliated with the CIO. About 1943 or 1944 the CIO challenged the right of the Alaska Native Brotherhood to act as bargaining agency for the other labor union. The case was reviewed by the National Labor Relations Board and, because of the changes in the Brotherhood's constitution which permitted a nonrestricted membership, its right to act in labor matters was approved. Later on the CIO pressed for a vote as to affiliation, and after the various locals of both the Alaska Purse Seiners' and Cannery Workers' and the Alaska Marine Workers' voted on the issue a number of times, incidentally switching back and forth considerably, a strong majority was finally established in favor of CIO affiliation, and amalgamation of the Alaska Marine Workers' Union with the Purse Seiners' and Cannery Workers' group was carried out. The latter group was large enough to hold the balance of power in the new amalgamated organization and its officers were promptly elected to head the new amalgamated union. These people included a number of Paul's principal opponents in the Brotherhood as well as outsiders, and they took control from him and formal office as well. The following year at the annual convention of the Brotherhood which was held at Hydaburg it was resolved that the Brotherhood would cease to act as a bargaining agency. It appears that both the principal factions involved were in accord on this measure: the Paul group because they had lost control of the Union and the other faction because they had never felt that labor relations was a field in which the Brotherhood should function actively as an organization. The Brotherhood's constitution has not been changed since that time, so the provision for non-Indian associate members remains in its articles but is, of course, meaningless at present.


At the outset, largely because of its derivation from mission-influenced sources, the A.N.B. took a formal stand against everything that was regarded as significant and typical of the aboriginal culture. Even use of the Tlingit language was deplored. The first edition of the Brotherhood Constitution specifies that "English-speaking members of the native residents of the Territory of Alaska" are eligible to membership. Of the various features of native life that were particularly disapproved, the potlatch heads the list. There are various reasons for this emphasis against potlatching. Most of the missionaries of the early days felt very strongly against potlatch because they considered that not only was the distribution of money and valuables uneconomic and inconsistent with the white virtues of thrift, etc., but that the songs, dances, and feasts that invariably accompany a performance were "pagan" and thus inconsistent with Christianity. Tlingit potlatches, at least the major ones which were celebrated by the heir to a chief's position to formalize his assumption of that status and to repay the members of the opposite moiety, his father's side, for their services in the funerary rites of the new chief's predecessor, the carving and erection of the memorial pole, and the rebuilding of the clan house, had a strong emphasis on the honoring of the dead chief, and other clan ancestors. In a sense they were memorial rites as well as rites of public assumption of rank and status. The Indians themselves emphasize the commemorative aspects of the performances. It was therefore a very simple matter for the missionaries and some missionized Indians to interpret the institution of the potlatch not as a ritual of social significance, but one of religious significance, and one consequently to be opposed by all good Christians, by maintaining that the potlatch was a sort of "ancestor worship." The symbolic act performed at various times in the course of the potlatch of putting tobacco and food in the fire for the benefit of the souls of the deceased chief and other departed clansmen was emphasized out of all proportion to substantiate the "ancestor worship" interpretation and the stand against the institution.

As it has been indicated, the potlatch in all fairness should be regarded as a ritual of social rather than religious nature. The commemorative acts, the references to the dead, and the various acts performed for their direct benefit can only be interpreted as "ancestor worship" by exaggerating their importance considerably. Probably a potlatch was selected as a target by the early missionaries because of its spectacular nature and obvious association with ancient days and ancient traditions. It was probably simpler to regard this institution as the epitome of paganism and to campaign against it than it was to define and attack the less spectacular, highly personal and unpublicized body of religious beliefs of the aboriginal days. The true corpus of ancient religion revolved about an individual's relationship with his guardian spirit whom he had encountered after a long, arduous, and secret period of prayer and self-imposed hardship. However, many Indians today accept with little question the missionary interpretation of the potlatch as a pagan religious performance and are strongly in favor of the official A.N.B. stand against it.

Another reason that is commonly given in justification of opposing the potlatch is one that is economically motivated. Some informants maintain that in order to carry out their duties of potlatching to take the place of their maternal uncles and to honor the older clan ancestors, men gave away quantities of money that they should have used to feed and clothe themselves and their families. One of the standard justifications for opposition to the potlatch is that children frequently suffered neglect and even privation all winter because their parents felt obligated to use all their earnings of the year and all the money that they could beg and borrow from relatives to put on one of these spectacular performances. It is very difficult to appraise the factual bases of this generalization. Almost the only specific case I was able to collect referred to a man, currently in early middle age, who as a boy had completed the course of education available to him in the local elementary school, and who was eager to continue his education. He wanted to go to high school in Juneau. According to the account given me, at the last moment his parents told him he could not go because his father had to use every cent that he could scrape up to give a major potlatch to honor a departed relative and chief. My informant claimed that "they said the dead were more important than the living." Whether this was the real cause, or simply a rationalization by conservative parents of their opposition to their young son's leaving home, I could not determine. Nonetheless, this conceptualization of potlatching as conflicting to an antisocial degree with Western ideals of the virtues of thrift provides another overt reason for opposing the potlatch.

A.N.B. policy and practice have never been consistent on this issue. Although officially the system of fines used by lodges and other organizations is used at the annual convention for fund raising, from earliest days customs related to the potlatch have been drawn on. For example, such purely aboriginal procedures as that of addressing members of the opposite moiety in a certain formal fashion or calling on them to do something in behalf of their clan children (i. e., the children of the men of a clan) by speech or song are invoked to create situations in which, by ancient standards, the persons addressed must make gifts. The gifts now of course take the form of donations to the Brotherhood treasury. Other ancient patterns, as well, are utilized as means of contributing to the worthy A.N.B. cause. One such device consists in the donation, by the kinsmen of a deceased person, of a substantial sum to the organization. This is done in many cases in which the deceased had been an active member of the Brotherhood. Such performances are obviously the essence of the potlatch, that is, the potlatch stripped of its ritual, and with the A.N.B. replacing clans of the opposite moiety as recipient. The point seems to be that many of the people concerned do not perceive the functional parallelism, and therefore do not equate the ancient with the new. For example, one informant related that a member of the Brotherhood had been influential in having the Klawock camp invite the convention of 1949 and in fact had himself issued the invitation. Unfortunately, he died shortly before the convention was held. His funeral was carried out by the members of his local camp acting as such, and not by clan relatives. At the convention a relative of the deceased arranged for permission to take the floor. He said, "My uncle invited you delegates to have your convention here at Klawock. Unhappily he passed away before you arrived but we, his relatives, want to carry out his intentions for we know that when he invited you here he intended to do something for you. [That is to say, he intended to give a dinner to the delegates, or a sizable donation to the organization.] Therefore, we want to do what my uncle wished to have carried out. We want to give these pennies to the Grand Camp." So the person who spoke in the name of himself and his clansmen gave $700 to the treasury. The whole performance was obviously lifted right out of the potlatch pattern. However, most of the people present including the informant who felt very strongly against the potlatch, regarding it as one of the major evils of Tlingit culture, considered the act a very fine thing. As a matter of fact, the informant stated she was giving serious thought to doing something similar herself when a aged cousin of hers dies.

During the 1952 convention at Hoonah, after most of the business had been taken care of, the three daughters of John Fawcett, a recently deceased Hoonah man who had been an important figure in civic affairs and in the local camp of the A.N.B. for many years, and who also had been director of the town band, were introduced to the convention by Harry Douglas, mayor of Hoonah, and then by Jimmy Young, the elderly chief of the Tcukanedi clan, to which Fawcett had belonged. Following the speech by Mr. Young in Tlingit that was said to have been approximately the same as that given by Douglas, which was a eulogy of the deceased and a recital of his good works and contributions to the civic life of Hoonah, Young announced that he and his relatives would "pay a fine for taking up the time of the convention," that is, for having spoken at such length in honor of their deceased clanmate. Members of the clan came forward, each contributing a sum of money. Altogether they made up a donation of $120.

A similar contribution was made on the final evening of the convention by a Hoonah woman, a widow, and a kinsman of her husband. She addressed the convention speaking in honor of the deceased, who had been prominent for many years in A.N.B. affairs. On closing, she gave a substantial sum of money to the organization. I was unable to learn the source of the funds, and just how it was given. Presumably, if the widow, or the widow and her clan, gave it, the gift should have been "in honor of the children of her husband's clan"; part of the sum may have come from her husband's clan, who were represented by his kinsman. Her speech was in Tlingit and was interpreted for me in a quite sketchy manner. In any event, it is clear that she too was carrying out old patterns.

On yet another occasion early in the convention various members of the Hoonah Brotherhood and Sisterhood were publicly introduced to bring out all that they had done in connection with construction of the new hall at Hoonah. In the course of these presentations one of the senior officials of the convention who is considered something of a wit introduced one of the Hoonah ladies as his cross-cousin, using the Tlingit term for this privileged relationship, and put his arm around her waist, embarrassing the lady considerably. He was fined by the convention, but in addition a very short time afterward it was announced that the Tern Society of Hoonah (which is actually a dance group composed of women of the Daqdentan clan to which the woman belonged) were inviting the convention to refreshments the following evening. The way in which it was announced was that all of the man's cross-cousins would serve refreshments and give a dance. This they did the following evening and then among them contributed some $50 to the convention. Both the purpose, of course, and the technique used, were those of the "face-saving" potlatch or potlatch gift, to wipe out the embarrassment of their clanswoman.

In spite of these utilizations of potlatch procedures at the formal meetings of the Brotherhood, there is still considerable feeling among most of its members against the custom of the potlatch. It so happens that in the course of the last few years potlatching has undergone something of a revival in southeast Alaska. A number of men have rebuilt the houses of their clans and have done so in the traditional way. That is to say, they have called upon members of the opposite moiety to provide the labor and called on their own clansmen to provide funds, and afterward have given a potlatch at which the members of the opposite moiety are paid and given presents in return for their labors. There are, it so happens, clan houses in most of the Tlingit communities, even including the Indian quarter of Juneau. All of these clan houses have been built or repaired in the traditional fashion just described. Interestingly enough several persons who object strongly to the potlatch consider that the A.N.B. itself had been indirectly responsible for the revival of potlatching. Within recent years when conventions have been held in any of the white communities the Brotherhood has sponsored a performance of Indian dances, at which admission is charged. The purpose of these shows is simply to raise funds. However, since the people concerned with these shows conscientiously try to stage attractive and authentic performances, and use considerable amounts of time-honored and highly valued ceremonial dance regalia, some aver that the older people have interpreted these performances as representing A.N.B. approval of the potlatch with which the dances were formerly associated. Whether there is any truth in this assertion is difficult to say. It may be that the people who are potlatching would have given potlatches anyhow, regardless of the shows sponsored by the A.N.B.

The instance of the man who successfully resolved his doubts as to the propriety of giving a potlatch by interpreting it as a historical, rather than a religious, performance has been mentioned. This man is a progressive leader in his community, a pillar of the church, and has been active in his A.N.B. camp throughout his adult life. He is also a successful fisherman and owns one of the best seine boats in the village. He related in some detail the circumstances that had led him to give a potlatch a short time ago. When his uncle had died the informant had refused to accept the hereditary status and name. He explained his stand by saying that in this new day and age his English name was sufficient; he did not need in Indian name. Some of the members of his clan were rather hurt by his indifference to tradition. They often spoke to the informant about what a fine man his uncle the chief had been, how he had helped his people, and how much they regretted never hearing his name spoken in the village any more. The informant remained obdurate and unimpressed. On one occasion some of the older people attempted to trick him into acceptance of his uncle's position. They had invited him to a sort of minor social feast. One old man warmed his hands at the open fire, then suddenly turned and laid them against the informant's forehead announcing loudly "this is so-and-so," mentioning the formal name by which the deceased chief had been known and which the informant should inherit. The informant said it made him feel rather bad, but he still believed that potlatching was somehow pagan and un-Christian, and, of course, to assume the name and position of his uncle he would have to give a potlatch. However, a number of years later the clan house, which had been completely neglected since the old chief's death, was in very ramshackle condition. Its foundations had sagged and rotted and finally in a heavy storm a good part of the roof was torn off. The sight of the dilapidated old house, which in its better days had been associated with his maternal uncle and other relatives to whom he felt strong emotional bonds, became most painful to the informant. He felt that he was neglecting a duty to his family. He also began to think over the conflict between potlatching and his religious convictions, and he finally convinced himself that the potlatch was not in any way a religious performance, but only "the history of the Tlingit people."

His conclusions, in summarized and slightly paraphrased form, were:

I thought about it a long time, and I read the Bible a lot, until I finally understood. The missionaries were against the potlatch because they thought it was religion [i.e., a religious ceremony]. It wasn't their fault they didn't understand; they couldn't talk our language, and didn't know what we were doing. They thought because we say we "feed the dead through the fire" that we were worshiping our ancestors, like Chinamen. That's wrong. It's just a way to show we remember our old people, and respect them. That's not worshiping, like Chinamen. What the potlatch is really about is history. The potlatch tells the history of the Tlingit Indians. It tells where we came from, and the hard times our ancestors had. When I understood that, I knew it would be all right to give a potlatch. So I called in my old men and told them we would rebuild our house. Then we went to the chiefs of the other clans (i.e., of the opposite moiety] to ask them to get ready to do different parts of the work.

He carried out the whole proceeding in the traditional manner, requesting particular groups of individuals of the opposite moiety, through their own clan chiefs, to do particular jobs. He assembled quite a sizable sum of money, including his own funds, those contributed by his clanmates, and those contributed (as loans) by his brothers-in-law. This money was sufficient not only to purchase lumber and materials for repairing the house, but to give a major potlatch afterward when the work was done. At the time of the potlatch he assumed the traditional name which should be held by the chief of his clan, and he announced to all the people that henceforth he should be addressed by the name in Tlingit.

The clan and moiety system is another aspect of the ancient life that has been carried over into the modern period. So far as I was able to learn, these social institutions were never given any particular consideration by the A.N.B. No informant could recall that any particular efforts had ever been made for their abolition or abandonment. Most informants agree that there is still a pretty strong feeling against intramoiety marriages. A few such marriages occur, but members of the families concerned are usually quite upset about them, and other people regard such unions with disapproval. One man who had married a woman of his own moiety as the result of a school romance (the couple came from different clans, and in fact quite different towns) told me that the first few years of the marriage were made extremely difficult by nearly complete ostracism. After a time—the couple have been married in the neighborhood of a dozen years—as he put it, "People seem to be forgetting about it," and the couple find their social relationships less strained and difficult. I received the impression that the wife in this case outdoes herself in carrying out her clan duties such as making contributions toward the various sums assembled in connection with funeral rites.

To stress the strength of the feeling regarding the impropriety of marrying in the same moiety, a minister, himself an Indian, told me of an incident in which a woman came to him to request that if her daughter and a certain man should come to the minister to ask him to marry them, he should refuse. The reason was that the two young people were members of the same moiety. According to the minister's statement, both the young people were members of his congregation and he could not properly have refused to marry them (from his highly acculturated point of view). Fortunately they saved him from embarrassment by going to the United States Commissioner to be married.

Since the clans and the moiety system, along with the latter's control of marriage, are intimately related with potlatching through the Indian cycle beginning with the feasts given to pay members of the other moiety who function at time of burial, and the great commemorative affair given on the rebuilding of the clan house, it is rather remarkable that they have not come under fire—at least during the early days of the A.N.B. A possible explanation that suggests itself is that the missionaries who had guided the thinking of the founders of the Brotherhood, while they disapproved of the potlatch itself, did not understand its close integration with these other institutions. The nearest thing to an attack on the clan system was one directed at the funerary functions which are carried out by members of the opposite moiety who are subsequently repaid in a series of feasts and gift giving. In the 1920 version of the Brotherhood constitution a provision was written in, following, presumably, approval at the preceding convention, which provides for assistance to be rendered by the members of the Brotherhood to the families of a deceased fellow member, and a cash contribution from the Camp treasury of no more than $40 to assist with the funeral expenses. (It is provided that additional funds donated in cases of need may not be taken from the Camp's treasury but can be provided by special collections made among the membership for the purpose.) In point of fact, it is not certain that this measure was intended as a deliberate attack on the clan and moiety system; it may have been aimed only at copying the beneficent provisions of white fraternal orders. As it works out in many cases nowadays, members of the Brotherhood (or of the Sisterhood if the deceased were a woman), are often called in "to assist the family," as it is described; in other words, to handle the actual details of preparing the body for burial, getting or making a coffin, etc. The Brotherhood then furnishes pallbearers to carry the body to the hall where it is usually kept and watched over overnight. The A.N.B. contribution may have been made right at the first, to assist in paying for the coffin and the new clothing for the body, etc., or it may be given later. As I understood, the usual procedure, if the A.N.B. participates as such in the funeral, is that the Camp provides pallbearers to carry the body in the coffin to church for a burial service. In a few cases the family may wish to have the Brotherhood continue to assist in the whole affair, including the actual burial. More commonly, according to what a number of people told me, clans of the opposite moiety (from that of the deceased) are called on to provide pallbearers from the church to the cemetery, to hire or provide a boat in case the cemetery is on an island nearby, to dig the grave, etc. Normally, of course, it is the clan of the deceased that makes the arrangements, requesting members of the opposite moiety to perform various services. As I understood the way it is done, certain chiefs of the opposite moiety are requested to arrange to have specific tasks carried out. While the clan of the deceased is considered to stand in very special relationship to him, it does not seem to be called on to perform any greater number of functions than any other group. A short time after the funeral, some clan, through its chief, which has taken only a minor part in the proceedings so far, may be requested to finish off the grave, mixing and laying a cover of concrete over it, perhaps fencing it in.

Later on when a tombstone is ordered some other chief of the opposite moiety (that is to say, if there are enough different clans or subdivisions of them within the village) may be requested to provide assistance transporting the tombstone, or bringing it up from the dock if it has been received by freight, and setting it up in front of the deceased's home or the house of the clan. After a time someone else may be requested to transport the tombstone to the grave and set it up there. The idea seems to be that as many people of the opposite moiety as possible should be called on to perform various tasks and each time they are rewarded by giving them a feast and small gifts. A feast nowadays may take various forms. It may be given in something very like the old pattern with people sitting on the floor of the clan house and being served native foods. It may take the form of white-style dinner parties or banquets. A third procedure that may be followed, especially as a minor step in the proceedings, is to distribute foods informally to the guests: such things as apples, oranges, candy bars, soda pop, and the like are set out and given to the proper people in a somewhat informal fashion. (This is not ordinarily done in the case of a major step in the mortuary cycle.) I noted that the setting up of the late Charlie Newton's tombstone outside his clan house at Kake was celebrated in this way. For special reasons the recipients of such informal distributions may include members of both moieties. For example, on the occasion just described some extra boxes of candy bars and boxes of apples and oranges and cases of pop were set out to be given to the children as they came out of school, regardless of the moiety they belonged to. The reason for doing this was stated to be that Mr. Newton was very fond of children and was interested in their education. Practically all the children in the village came by after school let out in the afternoon and were given the things set aside for them.

From the foregoing it can be seen quite clearly that A.N.B. does not make any particular effort to interfere with the clan functions on these occasions. Rather, it seems as though in some cases the Brotherhood simply provides another group which can be called on for assistance and later will in some fashion be rewarded, just as the village brass bands and church choirs in Tsimshian and Niska villages participate in funerals along with the clans, and are similarly "paid for their services." The attitude of many people toward these activities by the clans is that someone has to be called on to perform these various tasks since there are no professional undertakers in the villages, and there is nothing particularly wrong with having the clans form the basis for recruitment for these tasks.

One minister, himself a mixblood, found himself in a somewhat peculiar position a short while ago after the death of a close relative of his own clan. He had spoken out very strongly on many occasions against the elaborate funeral feasts and potlatches, denouncing them as a return to paganism. He insisted that the whole performances were intended "to feed the dead" and were inconsistent with Christian belief and practices. However, on the grounds that someone had to do the various tasks that must be carried out in the course of the funeral, he could see nothing improper about calling on various persons of the opposite moiety when one of his own kinsmen died. He also felt that it was necessary to remunerate them for their services. After a time, therefore, he called the various people who had assisted by preparing the body, acting as pallbearers, digging the grave, filling the grave, sealing it with concrete, etc., intending to pay them what he regarded as proper amounts, somewhere between $20 and $40 for each of these various acts. Then he was surprised to discover that some other people of his clan had assembled something over a thousand dollars which they intended to distribute at this time to the accompaniment of ancient mourning songs and dances of their clan. The informant saw that there was nothing he could do other than to tell his kinsmen that be did not approve of the distribution of the major sum and the singing and dancing and intended to absent himself from the house while those events were being staged.

The clan houses themselves are, of course, closely related with the potlatching pattern because a potlatch must be given on the occasion of their building, or, in fact, on that of any major repair to them. Yet they do not seem to be regarded as detrimental in themselves except at Hoonah. There the perennial mayor, Harry Douglas, regarded them as providing the essential outlet for the performance of the old-fashioned feasts and potlatches which he regards as pagan, uneconomic, and particularly bad for children of the persons involved who, he says, are often neglected for weeks at a time. When Hoonah was rebuilt after the fire in 1944 under a contract with the Federal Housing Administration, Douglas was able to arrange that all the houses in the project should be allocated to individuals and not to clans. He also pushed through a municipal ordinance making the giving of feasts or potlatches in the city limits illegal and another prohibiting the construction of clan houses within the city limits. There are, however, two clan houses at Hoonah built just on the outskirts of the town, one by Jimmy Young and one by Jimmy Martin. Both of these men are highly influential members of the community. Young, as has been mentioned, in addition to being the head of his clan and also the nominal owner of the clan house, has been active in church work and has been an elder of the Presbyterian Church for many years. He is also said to have been the founder of the A.N.B. local camp at Hoonah and was quite active in that organization. Martin, although a younger man, is likewise quite active and highly regarded in the community.


It has been pointed out that in the original draft of the constitution of the A.N.B., stress was laid on the speaking of English. At the annual convention all proceedings are conducted in English except on infrequent occasions when someone, usually an older person, falls back on Tlingit usually as an oratorical gesture in the course of a speech. The fact that there are non-Tlingit-speaking people at the convention, the Haida delegation from Hydaburg and formerly another from Kasaan and an occasional person of Tsimshian descent from Ketchikan, makes use of English for most purposes essential. However, in the meetings in the local camps a considerable part of the business is conducted in Tlingit, and probably, though I have no certain information on the point, Haida is used to the same extent in Hydaburg. The reason for this is primarily that the dominant membership in the villages consists of the elderly people who, while they speak some English and many of them speak it quite well, find themselves more comfortable speaking their own tongue. In communities like Angoon and Hoonah the younger people also for the most part speak Tlingit, but according to several informants the use of the Indian language by the elderly was the cause of slight interest and poor attendance at Brotherhood meetings by young people in such towns as Juneau. The reason is, of course, that many of the younger generation who have grown up in Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and other white towns, do not have a working knowledge of their native tongue.


Some of the earliest Federal legislation passed for Alaska was concerned with prohibiting sale of alcoholic liquors to natives. Over the course of time that law became a dead letter by popular usage. It appears that attempts at enforcement in the early years of this century, prior to passage of the national prohibition law, were at best desultory; with repeal of that law in 1933 Indians were served drinks at bars and openly purchased bottles of liquor as anyone else. A good many Indians believe that this derives from some special right, somehow connected with the fact that they do not live on reservations. Such is not the case, however; prior to the recent passage of a law removing the prohibition on sale of liquor to all United States Indians, such sales were as illegal in Alaska as in the States. Yet since the usage had come to be regarded as a right by so many people, the Indians came to develop a markedly aggressive attitude toward drinking, as if by drinking they were proving that they were on equal terms with whites. There are undoubtedly other factors contributing to what appears to be the compulsive drinking indulged in by many Indians in southeast Alaska, but I am convinced that this is a particularly potent one. Lemert (1954) has discussed various motivations for Indian drinking, which all probably contribute, but this factor seems especially potent.

Most thoughtful Indians of southeast Alaska regard the liquor problem as a major one among their people. They point out, and unquestionably correctly, that numerous drownings occur every year as a direct result of drinking. The factors are: an intoxicated person going to his boat at night bundled up in winter clothing and hip boots, the slippery float, the swift tidal current racing by, and the bitter cold water—a very deadly combination. They maintain that many individuals spend such a large part of their incomes on protracted sprees at the end of the fishing season that they are often unable to feed and clothe their children adequately through the winter. However, this is a question on which the A.N.B. has not been able to formulate a definite stand other than to inveigh at times against the drinking of alcoholic beverages. There are a few individuals, particularly among the more active Indian church workers, who are in favor of a Territorial or Federal law which would prevent the sale of liquor to Alaskan natives. (They would prefer complete prohibition for the Territory, but are realistic enough to know that the chances for passage of such a law are very slim indeed.) Most Indians, however, are bitterly opposed to such a measure on the grounds that it would be discriminatory. It would, they say, be a step backward, a long step in fact, since for years Indians of Alaska were not subjected to that particular discrimination. Most of the Indian villages have local ordinances preventing the establishment of liquor stores or the sale of alcoholic beverages within the city limits. No one, however, in or out of the Brotherhood has been able to devise a workable plan which will effectively reduce consumption of liquor by the Indians.


For a number of years even after the Indians' rights as citizens had been established and were universally recognized in southeast Alaska, some of the early-day discriminatory practices continued. For example, all movies had sections of the balcony set off with signs that read "For Natives Only." Certain stores, restaurants, and hotels had signs indicating that they did not serve Indians, etc. At one of the early conventions these matters were called to the attention of the Alaska Native Brotherhood, but at that time it was decided that the Brotherhood should not make discrimination an issue as yet, but should first concentrate on such issues as citizenship, the right of Indian children to attend Territorial schools, and the campaign against fish traps. About 1929, however, the Brotherhood became actively involved in the problem. A certain well-educated, sophisticated Indian, who was at that time a grand officer of the Brotherhood, was refused admission to the main floor of a motion picture house in Juneau. He was told that he would have to sit in the balcony in the native section. He became highly indignant at what he regarded as an infringement of his rights and left the theater. He discussed the matter with a friend, who was grand president of the A.N.B. that year. They met with some other members of the Executive Committee and resolved on a boycott. Their next step was to notify all the Camps that a boycott was to be established. It so happened that the particular theater in which the man concerned had had his difficulty was one of a chain that operated in several towns of southeast Alaska. Its practices in regard to treatment of natives did not differ from those of the other theaters, but the members of the Executive Committee decided it would probably be more vulnerable. At the time the membership of the Brotherhood was notified of the boycott against the motion picture theaters, it was also suggested that they should stay away from any other place of business that had separate sections for natives. Apparently many restaurants refused to serve natives. Some of the local Camps, for example the one at Wrangell, posted a member regularly near the entrance to the boycotted theater. His duty was to remind any Indians that he saw approaching that the Brotherhood did not want them to give their business to that theater, and if they disregarded him, he notified their local Camp which was supposed to fine them. Apparently the Indian business constituted an important enough share of the business of the theaters so that the boycott was soon felt.

It was not too long afterward, my informant recalled—perhaps a month later—that the offending signs were removed from all the theaters of the boycotted chain and Indians were permitted to sit anywhere. Once the chain began this policy, other theaters found themselves obliged to follow suit and this set the pattern for a gradual disappearance of discriminatory signs from most places of business. Apparently many white businessmen became aware for the first time of the strength and effectiveness of the Brotherhood.

A number of people commented that actually it was the idea that was offensive to the Indians—not the fact of being seated in one particular place. They pointed out that in most cases Indian members of the audience tend to sit together anyhow even now. The Brotherhood, through circular letters to the various camps and through the medium of the Alaska Fisherman, its official journal, called the attention of the membership to the desirability of taking care to conduct themselves in an orderly fashion to avoid things that might give offense in public places. It was repeatedly pointed out that people should change clothes before attending a movie after they had been handling fish in the local cannery, or shellfish in one of the town packing plants, because many white people objected to the fish odors.

Another informant related that even after this, the problem of discrimination continued in some establishments. It was said that in Juneau in the mid-1930's a group of Indians, incensed at being refused admission to an ice-cream parlor, entered forcibly and did considerable damage to the place with the intention of creating a test case. They were not, however, arrested. However, such procedures were never sanctioned by the Brotherhood. Finally in 1946, at a special session, the Territorial Legislature passed an anti-discrimination law. The Alaska Native Brotherhood had been urging that this step be taken and a number of its officers went to Juneau to form what actually amounted to a lobby, discussing the matter with various members of the legislature. A number of the white legislators requested permission to introduce the bill since it was felt that it would be better for one of them to do so than for one of the Indian members. It is said that it appeared at first there would be no opposition at all to the measure, but at the last moment opposition developed and formal hearings were held. Various members of the Brotherhood made themselves available as witnesses, and finally the bill was passed. I was told that subsequent to this time no Indian has ever had to invoke the bill in southeast Alaska, although a few Negroes and Aleuts have done so. At the present time observations suggest that discrimination, at least against Indian customers in places of business, has been eliminated. Indians receive the same treatment as whites.29 However, many Indians are still quite conscious of the possibility of being discriminated against on the ground of their race, and in conversation they indicate that they would be highly resentful of such treatment.

Most Indian servicemen who enlisted or were drafted into the Army in World War II were assigned to an Alaskan unit in which the enlisted personnel of certain companies were all natives: Indians, Eskimos, and some Aleuts. Interestingly enough, they did not seem to have interpreted this as discriminatory or as a form of segregation. It may have been that they found themselves from the first more at ease and more comfortable among friends from nearby villages and other natives with whom they felt such common bonds. The pattern has persisted, or so it seems; most of the National Guard units from the various Indian villages are grouped together, I was told, in all-native companies in the Alaska National Guard organization.


Despite the influence of Presbyterian missionaries on the founders of the Brotherhood, the organization has deliberately maintained a nonsectarian position. Only on one occasion, it is reported, was there a move to support the activities of any one church or mission group exclusively, and it was not entirely clear how that happened to come about. It may have been an accidental over-enthusiastic attempt to express approval of good works rather than an attempt to give the organization a sectarian bias. Immediately the effects of the move were recognized, and it was overwhelmingly decided that the A.N.B. should avoid any favoritism whatsoever. The fines collected at conventions and other funds raised are given after the conventions to various schools and orphanages, most of which are operated by or affiliated with some church. However, each year donations are deliberately distributed among institutions of the sort which are affiliated with different Christian churches, Presbyterian institutions, a Roman Catholic one, a Greek Catholic one, etc. This nonsectarian position is dramatized at annual conventions by inviting ministers of different churches alternately to give the invocation with which each day's session is opened.


At the annual convention in 1951 it was formally resolved that the Alaska Native Brotherhood should send delegates to organize camps among the Indians of southwest Alaska. The committee on the budget allocated funds for travel and expenses of these representatives. For one reason or another the representatives were unable to make the journey, but the project is still considered by the Brotherhood to be a part of their long-range plans of growth. The reasons for this resolution were first to strengthen the Brotherhood by the addition of members; that is to say, to increase its political strength and to add to its financial resources through the share of the dues which the new camps would send in. The second motive was a more altruistic one of putting the resources of the Brotherhood behind the Eskimos and Athabascan-speaking Indians of southwest Alaska who are reported to be in a difficult situation economically. The communities there are said to be quite small, many lacking educational facilities and medical attention. As a matter of fact, through correspondence and similar channels of communication a few southwestern Alaskan communities have requested charters from the Brotherhood and have set up local camps, but just how well these function is not clear. The polyglot native community at Dillingham is reported to have a very active camp.

It was not made clear how the activities of the proposed camps in southwestern Alaska would be coordinated with the parent organization. Apparently the matter was discussed at the time it was decided to organize the new camps, but no firm decisions were arrived it. Presumably the southwestern Alaska chapters would form a unit by themselves. The cohesion that has resulted from the system of holding annual conventions at which delegates from each camp in southeast Alaska are present would obviously be unworkable, with the high costs of transportation and the reported low cash income of the Eskimos and Athabascans in the southwestern part of the Territory. The main reliance would have to be on written correspondence.

A chapter of the Brotherhood is said to have been organized a few years ago among the Eskimo of Nome. It is recounted that a member of the Executive Committee who visited Nome in the course of some other business organized the chapter there. Since that time the group at Nome has apparently renamed itself the "Arctic Native Brotherhood" but is said to still regard itself as affiliated with the southeastern Alaska organization and to keep in communication by letter. The 1952 convention at Hoonah was attended by a mixed-blood Eskimo from Unalakleet who had come to Juneau on business. He came to the convention to see f or himself how the Brotherhood functioned and what it did. He was made the object of very cordial treatment. Among other things he was elected an officer of the Grand Camp, second Grand Vice President, which was, of course, in his case intended primarily as an honor since he was not expected to function in the usual manner. He appeared to be quite impressed with the organization and stated his intention of trying to work out some plan to organize chapters among his people in the north and to maintain the maximum possible degree of affiliation with the southeastern Alaskan organization.


The relationship of Metlakatla to the Alaska Native Brotherhood merits some comment. Although the Rev. Edward Marsden, as stated previously, was active in the Brotherhood during its early years, he did not organize his home community.. Probably he could not have done so because of the factional split he himself was creating there by establishing a Presbyterian Church in opposition to Duncan's Metlakatla Christian Mission. Although the community acted as host to a Brotherhood convention in the mid-1930's, a camp was never organized there. To this day there appears to be no interest among A.N.B. members in getting Metlakatla into the organization.

Various reasons, and rationalizations, are offered by informants as to why this progressive Indian community has never been won over to the A.N.B. fold. One of the readiest explanations is that, according to some Metlakatlans, the community has become sufficiently well-acculturated and adjusted to the modern world so that it does not need the aid and support of the organization. The Tlingit side of this particular coin runs more or less this way: "They think they are so good over at Metlakatla, that they don't need the Brotherhood. But are they really fouled up over there!" The real basis of this attitude goes back to the Tlingit-Tsimshian feuds and wars of past generations. Memories of old rancors still come to the fore; one rather cynical informant remarked, in discussing the problems that beset the rather weak Ketchikan Camp of the A.N.B., "If we could only have three Camps here in Ketchikan, one for Tlingit, one for Tsimshian, and one for Haida, we'd get along fine."

Some Metlakatlans phrase their community's opposition to the A.N.B. in terms of a sort of feud with William Paul. Mr. Paul, influenced apparently by the traditional history of crashes between the Tsimshian and his tribe, the Stikine, has not been altogether tactful in his dealings with them. This motive of Metlakatlan opposition to Paul, however, is heard at Metlakatla less frequently than among Paul's opponents in the Tlingit villages. As a matter of fact, a goodly number of sophisticated Tsimshian, particularly those of the Presbyterian group, say they believe Metlakatla should join the A.N.B. However, it is probably impossible for that faction-torn community to organize a representative group into a camp that could operate in a unified manner.


In the fall of 1952 the present writer was privileged to be able to attend the annual convention of the Alaska Native Brotherhood held that year at Hoonah. This opportunity to see the organization in actual operation afforded a great deal of insight into its functional aspects. One of the most impressive features of the convention, which lasted from Monday, November 10, through Saturday, November 15, was the very efficient, businesslike way in which the work of the convention was carried on. Parliamentary rules were adroitly used to keep the convention working at top speed. Daily minutes, resolutions, and other materials were reproduced on the mimeograph machines and promptly disseminated. The way work was accomplished it was most obvious that officers and delegates of the organization were thoroughly indoctrinated in convention procedures, and could hold their own in any similar sort of meeting with white fellow citizens.

The program and agenda for the convention had been prepared in advance by the A.N.B. Grand Secretary, printed in attractive form with a cover which featured the organization's colors of red and yellow, and disseminated to the camps well in advance. Addresses by officials of the Alaskan Native Service, the Alaska Department of Health, the Territorial Commissioner of Education, and others had been arranged for and were scheduled on various days during the course of the convention. Each day's meeting was commenced with a call to order by the Grand President, the singing of the A.N.B. battle song, "Onward, Christian Soldiers," a reading from the Scriptures, and an invocation by one of the several clergymen at Hoonah and ministers who were present as delegates. Most of the work of the first day was devoted to appointment and organization of various committees: ways and means, fisheries, credentials, audit, constitution, education, health, benefits and gifts, and the committee for the grand ball which was to terminate the convention. In the afternoon the area director of the Alaskan Native Service addressed the convention, and in the evening the officers of the Hoonah camp formally greeted the convention as hosts. The subsequent days were taken up with the sort of business with which any orderly convention must occupy itself. An important item of business recurring daily was the introduction of resolutions which had been prepared by local camps and turned in to the Resolutions Committee. The great majority of these resolutions concerned matters of localized interests. Many were directed to the Fish and Wildlife Commission and concerned requests for modifications of fishing and hunting laws. For example, some village might request that the opening date for commercial fishing in certain nearby waters be set earlier or later to correspond better with the principal run of fish. Some of the officers of the organization told me privately that they regard these resolutions as pretty much of a loss of time since the Federal agency concerned seldom appears to give them any attention at all. Nonetheless, presenting such resolutions and having them transmitted with the approval of the entire convention gives the membership in the local camps a strong feeling of participation in A.N.B. activities. It is therefore continued despite lack of effect.

From time to time there were breaks in the order's serious business during which the delegates took the floor to present good-humored complaints against their fellows and offered resolutions that the convention fine the "offenders." As has been remarked the purpose of these fines was quite serious; it was to raise funds for charitable purposes, but the good-natured raillery that accompanied the resolutions gave a respite from the serious business of the convention. This interchange of seriousness and levity is often utilized at similar gatherings of white groups. It is worth noting, however, that is was also a very distinctive part of the aboriginal ceremonial pattern on the Northwest Coast.

The climax of the convention was the election of officers which took place on Friday. Principally because of the intense rivalry between the two principal factions of the organization there was great interest in this event. Since it was generally conceded that control of the major offices was of great importance in directing the organization's policies, a great deal of political maneuvering went on prior to the nominations. It was, of course, impossible for an outsider to determine just what was accomplished and what arrangements were made. As a matter of fact, even the program of the convention had been drafted with the election in mind. One discussion scheduled that was aimed at getting convention disapprobation of the Territorial Fish Commission was to be led by two members of the Executive Committee who were known to have voted for the establishment of this commission during their terms of office in the Territorial House of Representatives. It so happened that this particular pitfall was adroitly evaded by the presiding Grand President and the particular discussion was indefinitely postponed and never took place. To return to the election itself, all nominees made speeches accompanying the nominations. Some of them very obviously tried to indicate a middle-of-the-road stand or tried to carry water on both shoulders, depending on how one looked at it, in hopes of getting approval of both parties. As it turned out, most such candidates failed to win the approval of either faction and a slate of faction candidates was eventually elected.

The convention was closed on the evening of Saturday, November 15, by the grand ball which was begun by a formal installation of the new officers—an impressive ceremony, carried out with a great deal of dignity. The grand ball itself was impressive from the point of view of dress and comportment of the participants. The officers and delegates at the convention were, of course, the leaders among the Tlingit and Haida in Alaska. There is not the least doubt but that many of them would be quite at ease in a social gathering of whites on any social or economic level.


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