[Back to Formatted Version]

William L. Paul Sr. Recording, 1965

By Alyssa Peterson, UAS Intern

Collection Overview

Title: William L. Paul Sr. Recording, 1965

ID: MC/023

Creator: Paul, William Lewis (1885-1977)

Extent: 1.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 03/08/2011

Languages: English [eng]

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection consists of a 1965 audio recording of William L. Paul, Sr. speaking to Paul Rudolph, a fellow Alaska Native. The original self-recorded recording was captured on a three inch magnetic reel by William Paul, dated 3/27/1965, and contains the wording “Paul defends his record” written on the reel box. The reel was mailed by William Paul to Paul Rudolph in 1965. Paul Rudolph Jr. donated the original reel to SHI in 2011, and the reel has been migrated to CD for patron use.

In review of the recording it contains William Paul speaking about his past work and accomplishments for Alaska Natives generally and the Alaska Native Brotherhood. According to Paul, at this time there was a certain amount of animosity towards him from the Alaska Native community, which he discusses, and in this recording he seeks to “defend his record” and his labors on behalf of Alaska Natives.

The recording on CD is 26 minutes long. Patrons should know that during the migration process it was discovered that the recording was recorded at different speeds on the original reel. The CD contains a Side A and B, and each side is presented at two different speeds, and patrons will need to listen to both speeds to hear the full recording audibly. Importantly, because the audio quality of the recording is not overly audible, the recording has been transcribed and is included in this collection.

Researcher note: For those further interested in documents written by William L. Paul, Sr., the land claims movement, or the Alaska Native Brotherhood, see Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Curry-Weissbrodt Papers, the Walter A. Soboleff Papers, and the Andrew Hope and Ellen Hope Hays Papers. Patrons should know that William L. Paul Sr.’s papers reside at University of Washington Special Collections.

Biographical Note

William Lewis Paul (May 7, 1885 – March 4, 1977) was an American attorney, legislator, and political activist from the Tlingit nation of southeastern Alaska. He was known as a leader in the Alaska Native Brotherhood.

William Lewis Paul was born in Tongass village in Alaska, the second child of Louis Francis Paul (a.k.a. Pyreau) and Matilda ("Tillie") Kinnon Paul (Tamaree), a Tlingit couple with Scotish and French ancestry as well. William's Tlingit name was Shgúndi ("Shquindy") and he was a member of the Raven moiety and of the Teeyhíttaan clan. Tillie Paul was a teacher with Sheldon Jackson's Presbyterian mission among the Tlingit, later Sheldon Jackson College. William and his brothers all also attended the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

William and his brother Louis Paul (1887-1956) are considered foundational members of the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) and in the 1920s extended its presence to every Native village in southeast Alaska. The organization pressed for voting rights, desegregation, and social services, as well as advancing the first Tlingit and Haida land claims in Alaska. William Paul served several times as the ANB's Grand President and Grand Secretary.

William Paul was the first Alaska Native to become an attorney, the first to be elected to Alaska's House of Representatives, and the first to serve as an officer in the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. He helped draft the legislation to adopted Alaska's flag in 1927. He played a major role in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971.

His first run for the House in 1922/1923 was challenged legally and became an ultimately successful test case on citizenship rights of Indians to vote and hold office. Paul was defeated in his third run for the seat, in 1928, partly because of accusations that he had received payments from the salmon canning industry that he had vilified repeatedly in print.

He ran unsuccessfully for the office of territorial attorney general in 1932.

In the 1950s Paul brought an important land-claims test case, Tee-Hit-Ton vs. U.S., on behalf of his own Tlingit clan, which was unsuccessful but which laid the groundwork for the later ANCSA.

William Paul died in Seattle, Washington, on March 4, 1977.

Source: Wikipedia.com, Jan. 17, 2008.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Source: Paul Rudolph Jr.

Acquisition Method: The material in the collection was donated to Sealaska Heritage Institute by Paul Rudolph Jr. of Hoonah on 3/8/2011.

Preferred Citation: MC 23, William L. Paul, Sr. Recording, Sealaska Heritage Institute Archives, Juneau, AK

Box and Folder Listing

Item 1: Audio recording on compact disc, transferred from magnetic reel [Item 2]. Recorded on March 27, 1965. Approximately 26 minutes 37 seconds of sound material. Speaker is William L. Paul, Sr. from the Teeyhíttaan clan in Wrangell.Add to your cart.
On the recording Paul acknowledges the animosity he is receiving from the Alaska Native community, and how people are unwilling to listen to him. Paul discusses his involvement in the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB). Paul also discusses his direct achievements from being a lawyer that were claimed as ANB accomplishments, such as amending the law so Alaska Natives could receive the benefits of Aid for Dependent Children. Paul states that everything he has done has been supported by ANB. William L. Paul, Sr. claims that everything he worked towards was for the benefit of all Alaska Natives. [Please note that item may be difficult to listen to due to different speeds.]
Item 2: Audio recording on magnetic reel. Recorded on March 27, 1965. Tape was sent by William L. Paul, Sr. to Paul Rudolph. Labeled as ‘Paul defends his record’. Original recording.Add to your cart.
Item 3: Transcription of recording, transcribed on July 1, 2011.Add to your cart.