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History of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood Recording, 1983

By Mary M. Brooks, UAS Student Intern

Collection Overview

Title: History of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood Recording, 1983

ID: MC/028

Creator: Alaska Native Brotherhoood

Extent: 1.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 10/10/2008

Languages: English [eng]

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection consists of a panel discussion recorded at the 71st Annual Grand Camp Convention of the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) and Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS) held in Sitka, Alaska from 14-19 November 1983. The panel discussion was recorded by Cyrus Peck, Jr. and Wendy Strandtman, produced on cassette for distribution, and consist of addresses given by past Grand Presidents of both ANB and ANS regarding the organization’s history. The speakers on the recordings including, in order: Cyrus Peck Sr., Walter A. Soboleff, Robert Barkley, Roy Peratrovich, Mary Jones, Stella Martin, with response by Mary Jones.

The purpose of the panel discussion was to recall and record an oral history of the ANB/ANS for posterity from 1912 to the present.  Each panel member spoke on a specific topic. Cyrus Peck, Sr. spoke on the first twelve founding members and the reasons why the organization was founded. He recounts his first ANB Grand Camp attendance in 1924 and the issue of politicizing the ANB in order to effectively deal with the issues of citizenship and civil rights for Native Alaskans.  Dr. Walter A. Soboleff relates the creation of the ANB/ANS two-heart pin (1949) and the concern that many years’ worth of important Grand Camp historical documents are forever lost. Dr. Soboleff also lists numerous resolutions passed by the ANB over the life of the organization.  Robert Barkley relates how ANB acted as a political faction to thwart discrimination against Native Alaskans by Gross Theaters (1940s) and the successful efforts to keep the southeast panhandle of Alaska from being appropriated by Canada.  Roy Peratrovich closes out the ANB history segment of the panel discussion. He expands on the issue of discrimination against Native Alaskans at the time of his arrival in Alaska circa 1940, relating how he and others (including wife, Elizabeth Peratrovich) worked to keep the ANB at the forefront of the anti-discrimination legislation, which would ultimately pass in 1945. Peratrovich ends his discussion with his personal accounts of the unsuccessful attempts to incorporate the northern Native Alaskan tribes into the ANB.

Rounding out the panel discussion are two past presidents of the Alaska Native Sisterhood: Mary Jones and Stella Martin. Mary Jones speaks about the importance of accumulating the histories of the Native Alaskan elders and families for the benefit of future generations. She also cites several influential elder women, both past and present, who continue to strengthen the ANS and its complementary role in relation to the ANB.  Stella Martin finishes the panel discussion. She relates that some women have preferred to join the ANB instead of the ANS in order to gain equal standing and how the situation has affected the ANS as an auxiliary. Martin concludes by explaining the essential meaning of the koogéinaa, or sash, worn by the ANS, auxiliary power structure and protocols.  Mary Jones responds.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Source: Walter A. Soboleff

Acquisition Method: The materials in the collection were donated to SHI on Oct. 10, 2008 by Walter A. Soboleff.

Box and Folder Listing

Item 1: Audio cassette tapes, 4 duplicate copies, in clear plastic cases, three with labels and seven cases with no labeling, of a panel discussion concerning the history of the ANB/ANS recorded 14-19 November 1983 at the 71st Grand Camp Convention held in Sitka, Alaska.  The recording was produced by Cy Peck, Jr. and Wendy Strandtman for the Alaska Native Brotherhood.  These tapes were housed with and donated by Dr. Walter Soboleff.  Side A: Cy Peck, Sr., Dr. Walter Soboleff, and Robert Barkley.  Side B: Robert Barkley continuation, Roy Peratrovich, Mary Jones and Stella Martin with response by Mary Jones.Add to your cart.