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Olson, Marie Williams | Sealaska Heritage Institute Archives

Name: Olson, Marie Williams


Historical Note:

Marie Williams Olson was born in Juneau, Alaska, the daughter of James Williams (Tlingit name Kaajeexán) and Amy Bean. Marie is an Áakʼw Kwáan Tlingit Indian of the Wooshkeetaan clan, Xóots hít (Brown Bear House), and a Kiks.ádi yadí.  Olson carries her grandmother’s Tlingit name Kaayistaan.

In her youth Olson attended a boarding school for Alaska Natives, the Wrangell Institute, Wrangell, Alaska, later graduating from high school in Seattle, Washington. Thereafter she attended college at University of California Berkley. At this time she was exposed to the growing Red Power movement, even visiting Alcatraz Island during its Indian occupation.

In her personal and professional life Olson has served as an educator, civic leader, and cultural advocate. In 1974 she joined the Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS) Camp 2 of Juneau. In 1990 she was appointed Secretary of ANS Camp 2, and later served three terms as ANS Camp 2 president, from 2003-2005. Olson has also worked in the Juneau School District, providing cross-cultural educational training to staff and Native-content education to students. Olson is also known as an artist, working with charcoal. As of 2014 she lived in Juneau.






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