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Elaine Abraham Recordings Collection

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Recordings



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Elaine Abraham Recordings Collection, 1951-1979 | Sealaska Heritage Institute Archives

By Zachary R. Jones, Archivist

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Collection Overview

Title: Elaine Abraham Recordings Collection, 1951-1979Add to your cart.

ID: MC/015

Primary Creator: Abraham, Elaine

Other Creators: Laguna, Frederica de

Extent: 1.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 09/31/1984

Subjects: Tlingit Indians--History., Tlingit language.

Languages: Tlingit, English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection consists of twenty-one audio recordings primarily concerning the Tlingit Indians of the Yakutat and Hoonah, which were recorded between circa 1951 and 1979. The recordings, all captured on 7 or 5 inch open magnetic reels—most all since migrated to CD for patron research, primarily contain Tlingit elders speaking about the history and heritage of the Tlingit clans from Yakutat and Hoonah. Some of the recordings are all in the Tlingit language.

These recordings were collected by Elaine Abraham and most concern her home village of Yakutat. Some recordings in the collection also concern Hoonah, such as the tapes recorded by presumably Andrew Hope between 1971 and 1973. The collection also contains recordings with Tlingit and Haida land claims lawyer I.E. Weissbrodt. Some recordings in this collection are copies of those made by anthropologist Frederica de Laguna in 1952 and 1954, and patrons interested in these should see SHI’s Frederica de Laguna Recordings Collection (MC 47).

Between 2010 and 2012 SHI archival migrated most all these recordings from open reel to CD, thereby making them accessible to researchers in CD format. In 2012 the all Tlingit language recordings were reviewed for content via an IMLS Enhancement Grant, which contracted a fluent language speaker to review the recordings. Fred White of the Shangukeidí Clan, Shangukeidí House, who was born in Yakutat, reviewed the recordings in this collection. White was related to and familiar with many people whose voices were captured on recordings in this collection, and as result, was able to give accurate feedback. This feedback, along with the wording written on the label of each original reel, is provided in an item by item description.

Biographical Note

Elaine Abraham was born and raised in Yakutat, Alaska. Her father was a traditional Tlingit leader and Elaine was raised in the traditional Tlingit manner. In addition to being instructed about her own heritage, Abraham also obtained a Western education, including obtaining a nursing degree, a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Alaska Pacific University (APU); a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Development from APU; and a Certificate in Native Linguistics, University of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

After earning a nursing degree and working for several years in Arizona, she returned to Alaska as the first Tlingit registered nurse. She served at hospitals in Juneau, Mt. Edgecumbe and in Bethel during a diphtheria epidemic. She assisted in the opening of the Alaska Native Health Service Hospital in Anchorage in 1954.

Abraham later moved to Sitka where she worked as a nurse; served as school board president during the desegregation of the village school; organized the Southeast Health Aide Program with Dr. Justice from Mt. Edgecumbe, which became the model for the statewide Alaska Native Health Aide Program; and organized the Southeast Native Board of Health.

At Sitka's Sheldon Jackson College she served as Associate Dean of Students, Director of Social Services and Vice President for Institutional Development. She developed the Tlingit and Haida Language Teachers Training program and helped in the creation of the Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska. In 1976, Ms. Abraham began her service at the University of Alaska, serving as Vice President for Rural Education Affairs, Coordinator of Native Student Services and Associate Professor at the Anchorage campus.

As of 2012 Abraham lived in Anchorage, Alaska.

Source: Bio on Elaine Abraham, Alaska Native Science Commission website. Accessed August 20, 2010. http://www.nativescience.org/html/abraham.html

Subject/Index Terms

Tlingit Indians--History.
Tlingit language.

Administrative Information

Repository: Sealaska Heritage Institute Archives

Acquisition Source: Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska

Acquisition Method: The recordings in this collection were obtained by SHI on October 31, 1984 from the Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, represented by Mary L. Lekanof, Anchorage Community Liaison Officer.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Box:

[Box 1: Recordings],
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Box 1: RecordingsAdd to your cart.

Item 1: Audio recording labeled “Tetlin Indian songs, November 1963.” Format; 5 inch open reel and CD. 67 minutes in length. Note inside recording box explains that this recording was made by Paul & Dorothy Henry, Tlingit from Yakutat, and was made in Tetlin at a four day feast. The feast and cultural gathering contained Native people from various nearby areas, including Yakutat, Tetlin, Tanana Crossing, and two other unlisted villages (some Athabaskan). The recording contains speeches by cultural leaders and some songs.

Item 2: Audio recording labeled “Mrs. Frank Dick from Dry Bay.” Review of the Tlingit language recording confirms it was made by Frederica de Laguna in 1952 or 1954. Original format; 7 inch open reel; migrated to audio CD, two discs, each disc 64 minutes, and two cassettes,. Singing all in Tlingit.

Speakers on the recording include; Frank Dick Sr. (Coho Clan, Far Out House), Mrs. Frank Dick (Kux’aawdu.oo) (Thunderbird Clan, Thunderbird House), Jenny Jack (Teikweidí Clan, Drum House), Nick Milton (Teikweidí Clan, Drum House), and Sarah Williams. Content on Disc 1 (64 minutes in length) includes; a) Jenny Jack Sings Her Grandfather (Teik Eesh) Little Stone’s Shaman Spirit song; b) Sarah Williams sings her Uncle (Leishóox) love song to Copper River Children (K’inéixh Kwáan); c) Sarah Williams Sings 3 short songs; d) Sarah Williams Sings funny song about Raven and Stone; e) Nick Milton Sings (Teikweidí) Eagle Bear Killer Whale Drum Song; f) Nick Milton sings (Teikweidí) Eagle Bear walking Song into Potlatch and sang upon exit; g) Nick Milton Sings (Teikweidí) Eagle Bear Dancing song at Potlatch; h) Nick Milton sings Teikweidí Mourning song about Greenstone expedition drowning; i) Nick Milton sings Spirit song of Sun Children of Teikweidí Shaman as they walked upon Knight Island Yakutat; j) Song about Why is Raven getting Drunk? (Unknown Singer); k) Mrs. Frank Dick Story of White Frog Screen and Song; l) Mrs. Frank Dick Raven Story of Crying for Daylight and Song; m) Mrs. Frank Dick X’hatsóow’s mourning song for his Uncles that drowned at the mouth of Lituya bay.

Content on Disc 2 (16 minutes in length) includes; a) Frank Dick Sr. going under the Glacier song in celebration Athabaskan Alsek River Dry Bay; b) continuation of last song going under the glacier song; c) Mrs. Frank Dick sings song that this illiterate woman composed in her dreamed of Frank Italio her Uncle; d) Mrs. Frank Dick sings Mourning song originally composed for her in-law that drowned.

Item 3: Audio recording labeled “John Fawcett, Sitka”, but the content is mixed and edited, edited and collected by Andrew Hope, content recorded at Hoonah and Kake, dates 1971-1973. Format; 7 inch open reel and CD. 120 minutes in length. Content on Side A; primarily songs (the bulk) and speaking in Tlingit; content includes; an introduction to the contents of the tape by Andrew Hope and his niece; opening dates the recording to 1971, recordings at Hoonah in 1973 of Susie James, Mr. Johnson, a canoe song, an outside song, love song, spirit of Kagkwagoon, Kaagwaantaan kid, “old Sitka song,” entrance song, a thank you, then speaking, then the includes oratory from the 1971 Kake totem raising. Content at Side B: introduction by Andrew Hope [?] introducing a Jimmy Johnny (age 85) at Hoonah, July 1973, who begins to tell oratory and stories in Tlingit about the Haida and Tsimshian. Ben Watson then begins to tell stories in Hoonah, July 1973. [Watson died three weeks later, according to Hope.]

Item 4: Audio recording labeled “Jack Reed, songs and stories of Dry Bay,” dated June 1952, recorded at Yakutat by Frederica de Laguna. Original format; 7 inch open reel; migrated to audio CD, one disc, two tracks, each 32 minutes. Note on box states Jack Reed was the grandfather of Elaine Abraham. Content Description: Tracks 1 & 2: Jack Reed (Khaakhindakhéen, Coho Clan) and Charlie White speak and sing in Tlingit, then Minnie Johnson (Coho Clan, Boulder House) explains the songs in English. First song is about a raven which obtained whiskey from the Russians. The second song is about how the raven faked being sick to learn about medicine. Also included are; a) Jack Reed tells the Story of Kaakeix’wtí “Man who killed his Sleep”; b) Jack Reed sings the Song Kaakeix’wtí composed when he was approaching people; c) Minnie Johnson explains the story of sleeping Man, why the song was composed.

Item 5: Audio recording labeled “Annie Johnson, Elaine Tlingit Cowboy,” but contains communication between two Tlingit women, circa 1970s. Format; 7 inch open reel and CD. Note on box states Annie Johnson was the aunt of Elaine Abraham. 53 minutes in length. Content includes; a woman passing a message and recording to “Daisy,” a recording of Richard Dick, an Eagle of Angoon, who had been working in Skagway for the railroad, Dick sings in Tlingit and English, but these are songs are sung to a guitar. Then the recording breaks and the main woman begins reading a letter about news and history in Yakutat, such as the accidental death of a Yakutat man, encountering armed Tsimshian, then a unnamed Tlingit man begins giving oratory in Tlingit about the accidental death and Tsimshian. Mention of Chief George.

Item 6: Audio recording incorrectly labeled “Maggie John, St. Elias stories and Copper River migration,” but contains a recording of Minnie Johnson and Frank Italio, recorded at Yakutat in 1952 by Frederica de Laguna. Original format; 7 inch open reel; migrated to audio CD, one disc, two tracks, each 33 minutes. Content Description: Most of recording is in Tlingit, part of second track contains Minnie Johnson speaking about the songs in English. Frank Italio sings mourning song for drowned uncles of this Thunderbird woman, then tells a raven story about the tide controlled by the moon, and how raven brought light to the world.

Item 7:            Recording labeled “Meetings of Tlingit & Haida,” and contains a meeting between ANB/Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and their land claims attorney, I.E Weissbrodt, undated but post-1957. Original format; 7 inch open reel; two CDs. 120 minutes in length. Content includes; begins with public discussion on land claims, with land claims attorney I.E. Weissbrodt speaking, question and answer session for Weissbrodt by the Tlingit and Haida, discussion on the complexities of land claims, federal law, and federal Indian policy. At one point Weissbrodt felt the land claims battle would not be won during his lifetime [which was later proved incorrect].

Item 8: Recording of “Minnie Johnson, Naas Keek, History of Yakutat,” Sept. 9, circa 1952, recorded at the Yakutat school house by Frederica de Laguna. Original format; 7 inch open reel, migrated to audio CD, one track, 32 minutes. Content Description: English and Tlingit language, Minnie Johnson sings her Grandmothers mourning song her husband composed before committing suicide. Naats’ K’éek’s song. Then Minnie Johnson explains the song.

Item 9: Audio recording of public speaking at unknown location, undated but pre-1974. Format; 7 inch open reel and CD. 5 minutes in length. Content includes; short speech in Tlingit by Robert Zuboff.

Item 10:          Recording of Minnie Johnson, copy of Item 8.

Item 11:          Audio recording of Minnie Johnson singing and speaking in Tlingit and English, recorded by Frederica de Laguna, circa 1952. Format; 7 inch open reel and migrated CD. 60 minutes in length. Note: label on box reads “Annie Johnson.”

Item 12:          Recording with two labels; “Tlingit & Haida 1973” and “The Bible,” undated. Format; 7 inch open reel. A note inside the box states this recording contains a religious sermon by Rev. W. J.  Beeners and does not concern the Tlingit or Haida people.

Item 13:          Audio recording labeled “Frank Italio, 31 years ago,” but recorded by Frederica de Laguna, circa 1952. Format; 7 inch open reel and migrated CD. 44 minutes in length. Content: begins with a woman speaking in Tlingit and with Frederica de Laguna, unclear if Frank Italio is on this recording.

Item 14:          Audio recordings compiled and collected by Andrew Hope of Tlingit elders, July 1973, Hoonah. Format; 7 inch open reel and CD. Original reel is labeled “David Abraham,” but recording does not appear to concern Abraham. Content: Side A: 1973; Opens with Ben Watson (Gaanaxteidí yádi) telling the story of the Woman that Married a Bear in Tlingit, then Bill Jones tells the Mt. Edgecombe Story or the Faithful Wife, then three short stories (names of stories in Tlingit are given by Hope) by Mrs. J.C. Johnson (Chookaneidí Clan). Side B: Recording from the winter of 1971 of Tlingit songs and dance as a fundraiser for the Sitka Visitors Center, narrated by Andrew Hope. Then recording shifts to 1973 with an interview with Peter Nelson at Mt. Edgecombe Hospital speaking about the clans of the Tlingit people.

Item 15:          Audio recording of Frank Italio telling stories at Yakutat, September 13, 1952, recorded by Frederica de Laguna. Format; 7 inch open reel and CD. Note on box states this recording is about Kaagwaantaan Beaver Stories. 59 minutes in length.

Item 16:          Audio recording of Frank Italio telling stories at Yakutat, September 13, 1952, recorded by Frederica de Laguna. Format; 7 inch open reel and CD. Note on box states this recording is about Kaagwaantaan Beaver Stories. 59 minutes in length. Appears to be a copy of the previous recording; Item 15.

Item 17:          Audio recording of Tlingit speakers speaking at Yakutat, recorded circa 1952 by Frederica de Laguna. Attributed as containing a recording of Frank Italio, undated. Format; 7 inch open reel and CD. 130 minutes in length.

Item 18:          Audio recording of what appears to be a public meeting with people discussing and asking questions about the nature of the formation of ANCSA corporations in Southeast Alaska and IRA governments, BIA [?] reps present, circa 1971. Format; 7 inch open reel and two CDs. 133 minutes in length.

Item 19:          Audio recording of what appears to be a public meeting with people discussing and asking questions about the nature of the formation of ANCSA corporations in Southeast Alaska and IRA governments, BIA [?] reps present, circa 1971. Format; 7 inch open reel and two CDs. 130 minutes in length.

Item 20:          Audio recording of what appears to be a public meeting with people discussing and asking questions about the nature of the formation of ANCSA corporations in Southeast Alaska, circa 1971. Format; 7 inch open reel and two CDs. 129 minutes in length. Content; appears to be a question and answer session, perhaps in Ketchikan, with people asking how corporations will work, how enrolment occurs, with perhaps a BIA official being questioned by the Tlingit and Haida present.

Item 21:          Audio recording of what appears to be a public meeting with people discussing and asking questions about the nature of the formation of ANCSA corporations in Southeast Alaska, circa 1971. Format; 7 inch open reel and two CDs. 129 minutes in length.



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