Elizabeth Peratrovich Day



Elizabeth Peratrovich Day

February 16th


Elizabeth Peratrovich was born on July 4, 1911 in Petersburg, Alaska, and was a member of the Lukaax̱.ádi clan, in the Raven moiety of the Tlingit nation. She was adopted when very young by Andrew and Mary Wanamaker, a Tlingit couple, and named Elizabeth Wanamaker. Andrew was a Presbyterian lay minister. Elizabeth grew up with them in Petersburg and Ketchikan, Alaska. She attended Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, and the Western College of Education in Bellingham, Washington (now part of Western Washington University).

Elizabeth married Roy Peratrovich, also a Tlingit, who worked in a cannery. They lived in Klawock, where Roy was elected to four terms as mayor. Looking for greater opportunities for work and their children, they moved to Juneau, where they found more extensive social and racial discrimination against Alaska Natives.

In 1941, while living in Juneau, the Peratroviches found more discrimination, having difficulty finding housing and seeing signs banning Native entry to public facilities. They petitioned the territorial governor, Ernest Gruening, to ban the “No Natives Allowed” signs then common at public accommodations in that city and elsewhere. The Anti-Discrimination Act was defeated by the territorial legislature in 1943. As leaders of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and the Alaska Native Sisterhood, the Peratroviches lobbied the territory’s legislators and represented their organizations in their testimony.

Elizabeth Peratrovich was the last to testify before the territorial Senate voted on the bill in 1945, and her impassioned testimony was considered decisive.

I would not have expected that I, who am barely out of savagery, would have to remind gentlemen with five thousand years of recorded civilization behind them, of our Bill of Rights.

She was responding to earlier comments by territorial senator Allen Shattuck of Juneau. He had earlier asked, “Who are these people, barely out of savagery, who want to associate with us whites, with 5,000 years of recorded civilization behind us?” The Senate voted 11-5 for House Resolution 14, providing “…full and equal accommodations, facilities, and privileges to all citizens in places of public accommodations within the jurisdiction of the Territory of Alaska; to provide penalties for violation.” The bill was signed into law by Governor Gruening, nearly 20 years before the US Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Acts of the territorial legislature required final approval from the U.S. Congress, which affirmed it.

To read more on Wikipedia, please click here.


Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, is celebrated on February 16th. This day is designated in recognition of her courage to speak out about issues regarding justice, prejudice and discrimination against native people. In 1988, the Alaska State Legislature established February 16th as the annual Elizabeth Peratrovich Day to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Anti-Discrimination Act.

  • On February 6, 1988, the Alaska Legislature established February 16 (the day in 1945 on which the Anti-Discrimination Act was signed) as “Elizabeth Peratrovich Day”, in order to honor her contributions: “for her courageous, unceasing efforts to eliminate discrimination and bring about equal rights in Alaska” (Alaska Statutes 44.12.065).
  • The Elizabeth Peratrovich Award was established in her honor by the Alaska Native Sisterhood.
  • In 1992, Gallery B of the Alaska House of Representatives chamber in the Alaska State Capitol was renamed in her honor. Of the four galleries located in the respective two chambers, the Peratrovich Gallery is the only one named for someone other than a former legislator (the other House gallery was named for Warren A. Taylor; the Senate galleries were named for former Senators Cliff Groh and Robert H. Ziegler).
  • In 2009, a documentary about Peratrovich’s groundbreaking civil rights advocacy premiered on October 22 at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention in Anchorage. Entitled For the Rights of All: Ending Jim Crow in Alaska, the film was scheduled to air as a PBS documentary film in November 2009. The film was produced by Blueberry Productions, Inc. and was primarily written by Jeffry Lloyd Silverman of Anchorage.
  • A park named for Elizabeth and Roy Peratrovich is located in downtown Anchorage. It encompasses the lawn surrounding Anchorage’s former city hall, with a small amphitheater in which concerts and other performances are held.
  • On Jan. 23, 2012 the Anchorage School Board approved a resolution recognizing Feb. 16, 2012, as Elizabeth Peratrovich Day.

Lessons Plans

Please visit these websites for lessons plans (K-12) and  Elizabeth Peratrovich videos.

Click to access lessonplansforlearningaboutelizabethperatrovich_0.pdf





Closing the achievement gap by talking openly about racial equity

Alaska Public Media

Anchorage teachers and staff gathered at the Dena'ina Center on Nov. 11, 2016 to have conversations about racial equity in education. (Hillman/Alaska Public Media)
Anchorage teachers and staff gathered at the Dena’ina Center on Nov. 11, 2016 to have conversations about racial equity in education. (Hillman/Alaska Public Media)

The Anchorage School District is trying to close its achievement gap and help all students succeed. One of its first steps is helping teachers, administrators, and other staff talk openly about race and racism and how they impact students.

“It’s not comfortable to talk about racism,” First Alaskans Institute educator Jorie Paoli told a room filled with more than 1,600 elementary teachers and staff. “It’s not comfortable to talk about privilege. Especially now.”

“But I would put forward to you and challenge you by saying it’s the most important time to talk about it,” she continued. “And if you’re uncomfortable talking about it, do what we tell our kids: practice.”

That was one of the goals of the ASD training last week. Staff from all of the district’s elementary schools gathered to talk about how race impacts their students. Two were broken into two groups and went to either a morning or afternoon session. Secondary school staff participated in the same conversations in August.

Jennie Knutson, ASD Executive Director of Professional Learning, helped coordinate the sessions. She said the district is excited that it has some very diverse schools, but it realizes that not all groups of students are succeeding at the same rate. The recently released Data Dashboard highlighted the problem.

One of the first steps to achieving equity in education is acknowledging how a student’s background might influence how they learn, Knutson said. “Our leadership teams, our problem solving teams in the building, they need to know more about a student, but also where they are coming from in their family that might be influencing that.”

Teacher Daniel Darko said educators need to acknowledge their students’ different personal histories, and let the kids talk about who they are and their own cultures. They need materials that give all students positive images of themselves, not just some. Sometimes, he said, teachers need to be open about their own experiences and how race has impacted them.

“At times you have to step aside your teaching and let them know yourself,” he said. “Teach also in the way that the children will respect themselves. That is what will reduce those barriers, so they will respect each other.”

Darko has been with the district for 21 years, and said this is the first time he’s been part of a district-wide conversation about race and racism. He said he thinks it was effective.

Other teachers, like Aimee Marx, thought the conversation was needed but that people in the large room weren’t necessarily engaged or held accountable. Marx explained that she is white but her adopted daughter is not and that influenced her reaction to other people who thought the media talked too much about race.

“I just had sour grapes when I heard them say, ‘I think they make too much in the media,’” Marx said.  “And people were just jumping on it and jumping on it. And ‘I’m white. I’m diverse. I have many cultures.’ Okay, fine, you do, but you’re not hearing this message. There’s a difference between white skin and brown skin.”

Paoli, from First Alaskans, said it can negatively impact students when the adults around them don’t acknowledge how race effects the way they experience the world and when they don’t call out racism.

“We, as the adults who are entrusted with the care of our kids, have to be aware of that. We have to have our eyes opened to understanding how our experiences differ.”

You can join the conversation. Alaska Public Media will host Community in Unity, a conversation about race and identity on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 pm. Find out more here.

Alaska Native and American Indian Heritage Month at ASD

Title VII Indian Education is gearing up for an eventful month to celebrate Alaska Native and American Indian Heritage Month! There are many ways that your school can participate to celebrate our diversity and to acknowledge the first people of Alaska.



Alaska Native Heritage Center: Cultures of Alaska

This is a great place for an overview of cultures. Including geographic area, home types, regalia and tools. Also great that the Heritage Center is located in town. Ask them about their Shavila workshops.
Alaskool: Tour of Topics, Curriculum and Resources
This is a wealth of knowledge for teachers! Many great resources can be found here.
Alaska Native Language Archives: Search Engine
Searchable database in all Alaskan Native groups. Includes language dictionaries, curriculum, songs and stories. All files from Alaska Native Language Center archives have been digitized and made available here. *May take some time to download large files from site.
Alaska Native Knowledge Network: Curriculum
A great source for curriculum and traditional knowledge. Click on the Cultural Standards link to see the Guidelines for Alaska Native Cultural Standards. This is the foundation that we use within Title VII for working with our students.

Native Heritage Month Resources: ASD Proclamation for Native Heritage Month boarddocs.com

Alaska Native and American Indian Heritage Month information: http://www.bia.gov/DocumentLibrary/HeritageMonth/

Indigenous Perspective on Thanksgiving from NMAI: https://nmai.si.edu/sites/1/files/pdf/education/thanksgiving_poster.pdf

Rethinking Thanksgiving Lesson Plans for teachers: Google Docs Link


Rock Your Mocs:

About: People worldwide celebrate this annual event in honor of indigenous tribes standing together worldwide to represent their diverse cultures, ancestors and future grandchildren during Native Heritage Month.

November 15th but can be honored during the entire week of November 13th-19th

How to Participate: Wear your traditional footwear or wear a Turquoise Awareness Ribbon.  *Ribbon will be available at November 2nd ASD General Leadership meeting.

Follow “Rock Your Mocs” on Social Media

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/1246555932041777/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/rockurmocs/

Twitter https://twitter.com/rockyourmocs

Official Hashtags #ROCKYOURMOCS #RYM2016


For more information about Title VII Indian Education, please visit our website or follow us on social media!

Website: http://www.asdk12.org/titlevii/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ASDTitleVII/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asdtitle_vii/

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2016 Elders and Youth Conferences in Anchorage and Fairbanks

The Elders and Youth Conference, hosted annually by the First Alaskans Institute, provides a space for youth and elders to come together to share in their common history and beliefs and to build upon the intergenerational relationships. This year the conference takes place in Fairbanks, Alaska.

ANCESTRAL IMPERATIVE: Adapt. Unite. Achieve. (2016)
This year’s theme speaks to the call to action from our Ancestors that we all carry – collectively and personally – to perpetuate who we are into the future, and the recognition that it is through our cultural and language well-being that our peoples and communities will thrive. Being strong, healthy, culturally-connected Native peoples does not happen in a vacuum; it must be grown, nurtured, and loved. Through the conference we strive to operationalize these values and ignite this responsibility.”

As Anchorage residents, our Alaska Native and American Indian students have a unique opportunity to participate in this conference through the Title VII Indian Education program. Our program allows for us to invite 4 students from each middle and high school (per day) to participate in the conference by: paying their registration fee, pre-teaching knowledge and skills that will promote full participation by students, providing supervision during the event, and reflecting with staff and students after the event.

At the mini-conference we will live-stream portions of the Elders & Youth Conference in Fairbanks, and we will have a potluck in the Atrium for participants.

When: October 17 & 18, 2016

Where: ASD Education Center, 5530 E. Northern Lights Blvd.

If your student is interested in applying to attend, please have them contact the Title VII staff at their school or the principal.




Alaskan Native Months: March, April and May

Alaska is the home to many different Alaska Native groups. Here are some names for the months of March, April and May in a few of the Alaska Native languages. Each of these names represent a cultural perspective to the season.


Tanana, Athabascan: Ch’eyona’ Nondedekden (when the eagles return)

Nunavik Island Cup’ik: Taqukat Tanqiat (seals month)

Coastal Inupiaq: Paniqsiqsiivik (time to bleach skins in the sun)

Tsimshian: Halix’wah (eulachon month)

Eastern Aleut: Kaduugix Qisagunax (earlier famine)


Koyukon: Hutinh Zo’u’ (month of spring/snow crust)

Bristol Bay Yup’ik: Kayangut Anutiit (month of egg laying)

Siberian Yup’ik: Liuughvik (Moon of the bird sling)

Tlingit: Yar Harni Disi (when the eulachon run in fresh water)

Alutiiq: Saqulegciq (unspecified)


Gwich’in, Athabascan: Gwiluu Zhrii (refreezing of the edge of the lakes)

Nunivak Island Cup’ik: Tengmiaret Tangiat (birds month)

Inupiaq: Nuggiaqtugvik (time to travel inland to hunt fawns for inner clothing)

Haida: Tahalaa Kungaay (good gathering month)

Eastern Aleut: Lichichxux (flower month)

For more information on Alaskan Native Languages please visit the Alaska Native Language Center website here.

Alaskan Winter Months and Holidays

In Alaska, winter is a festive time to celebrate and come together during the dark and cold months. It can also be a hard time for hunting and gathering. There are many ways that Alaskans celebrate the holidays around the state. But first, let’s learn more about these winter months according to the Alaska Native cultures.

Cultural Perspective

The months are represented by events happening during that season, such as hunting and gathering. Here is a list of the names of December, January and February in Alaska Native Languages.


Tanana Athabascan: Tatr’enatht’on (the sun goes down and is unable to rise)

Yup’ik: Uivik (time of going around)

Siberian Yup’ik: Kaneghyengesi (moon of the frozen dew)

Tsimshian: Hal’liluulgit (feast month)

Alutiiq: Agalgalux (month when harpoon hunting begins)

Gwich’in Athabascan: Ch’atsal (low on food)


Koyukon Athabascan: Neelkk’aa nodzaanh (month that separates long and short days)

Yup’ik: Iralull’er (the bad month)

Inupiaq: Siqinnatchiaq (month of new sunshine)

Tlingit: Tah wak disi (goose moon)

Alutiiq: Tugidiimax (main month)

Gwich’in Athabascan: Ahtr’aii shree choo (month of the big wind)


Gwich’in Athabascan: Ahtr’aii shree tsal (month of the small wind)

Yup’ik: Nayirciraruaq (seals mate)

Siberian Yup’ik: Nazighaghsiq (moon of hair seals to be born)

Haida: Hlgit’un kungaay (noisy goose month)

Information gathered from the Alaska Native Heritage Center and Alaska Native Language Center.

Click here for a full list of Alaska Native Language dictionaries.



 Every year on January 7th, the Russian Orthodox celebrates the Nativity of Christ, in other words, Christmas or Slaviq. It is celebrated for one whole week going to people’s houses following the Star and singing songs. The songs are sung in English, Russian, Slavonic, Yupik, and other Alaskan native languages. To read more about the Slaviq tradition click here.


Ornaments made by Elders and youth at the Kenaitze Indian Tribe for the U.S. Capitol Tree are pictured Oct. 1, 2015.

Alaskans are spreading that holiday cheer all the way to the White House. A 74 foot spruce tree has taken a 4,000 mile journey all the way from Alaska’s Chugach National Forest to Washington, D.C., it is included with thousands of handmade ornaments made by Alaskans. Each ornament represents a part of our Alaskan culture. Thousands of additional ornaments will also decorate the trees of offices throughout the Capitol. To read more about the Capitol tree click here.

Make your own ornaments!

Learn how to make these festive Alaskan ornaments here!  Each ornament comes with a detailed lesson plan and full list of materials needed.



The Messenger Feast or Kivgiq is a mid-winter Iñupiaq and Yup’ik celebration traditionally held after a strong whale harvest.

It was named for the two messengers sent to invite the guest village to the festival. Two Messengers would travel from host village to another village to invite them to the Kivgiq.

Since the late 20th century, this festival has been held almost every year, but “officially” is held every two or three years in late January or early February. It is called at the discretion of the North Slope Borough Mayor. Kivgiq is an international event which attracts visitors from around the circumpolar North.

Iñupiat people had celebrated Kivgiq for many centuries. However, the earlier representations of Kivgiq were discontinued in the early 20th century due to social, economical, and environmental pressures.

In 1988, after a lapse of more than 70 years, the Kivgiq festival was brought back. It is intended to inspire each person with an even stronger collective identity and enhanced cultural pride.

Click here to see videos of Kivgiq!

Bladder Festival

The Bladder Festival (Nakaciuq “something done with bladders” or Nakaciuryaraq “the process of doing something with bladders” in Yup’ik), is an important annual seal hunting harvest ceremony and celebration held each year to honor the spirit of the seals that have given themselves to hunters during the past season.

Yupik belief is that while the hunter kills the body of the animal, he does not kill the spirit or soul (yua in Yup’ik), which resides in the animal’s bladder (nakacuk in Yup’ik) and is reincarnated in a new body. By gathering the inflated bladders of sea mammals taken by hunters during the previous year and returning them back to the sea, the hunters honor the spirit of the animals in hopes of another successful year to provide. All of these inflated bladders are hung together in the qasgiq, and they are celebrated for five days. On the last day, the families take their bladders and push them through a hole in the ice and returned to the sea so that the souls of the animals may be reborn.

Here is a great book to learn more about the Bladder Festival.


Alaska Native and American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving


American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving

National Museum of the American Indian

Each November educators across the country teach their students about the First Thanksgiving, a quintessentially American holiday. They try to give students an accurate picture of what happened in Plymouth in 1621 and explain how that event fits into American history. Unfortunately, many teaching materials give an incomplete, if not inaccurate, portrayal of the first Thanksgiving, particularly of the event’s Native American participants. Click here to read more.


Preparing for Thanksgiving Stereotypes and Myths

Roots of Justice

Here are some resources to help you whether you want to educate yourself, prepare teachers with activities, or run into others who don’t yet understand that, yes, stereotypes hurt people even if you intend it as a way to “honor” the stereotyped group. Click here to read more.


Title VII Indian Education integrates the diverse cultures of Alaska Native and American Indian values to create an enriching connection for students and their families. Please visit our website to learn more.



Native Heritage Month!

Letter from Doreen Brown, Executive Director in recognition of Native Heritage Month. 
November is Alaska Native American Heritage Month.  It is a time to recognize the significant contributions the Alaska Native and American Indians made to the establishment and growth of the United States.  In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.”  Similar proclamations under variants on the name  (including “Alaska Native and American Indian Heritage Month” and “Native American Heritage Month) have been consistently issued since 1994.
Below is the link for the Presidential Proclamation- National Native American Heritage Month, 2015.
To learn about the process of recognizing November as National Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month, a link to a YouTube video featuring former U.S. Senator Mark Begich, (10:41 minutes), testifying in 2009 is below.
On Monday, November 2, the ASD School Board will address the “Resolution in Support of Alaska Native/American Indian Heritage Month” during the Regular School Board Meeting.
There are numerous activities that you, staff, students and families can engage in locally.
Roc Your Mocs” November 8-15. It is easy to participate by selecting a day to wear moccasins, mukluks, slippers or any other traditional footwear.  If a person does not own traditional footwear, they can wear a Turquoise Awareness Ribbon instead. 
“101 Ways to Celebrate Heritage Month” a legal-sized poster is attached and hard copies will be distributed on Wednesday at General Leadership.  The poster contains many ideas that can be done at school.
ASD staff can participate in a Title VII Indian Education cultural workshop on Saturday, November 14.  Come join local artist Tsi-Yaa Cuny, to learn how to bead an Athabascan hair barrette.   Sign up on MLP. 
Updated events and a showcase of activities done across ASD will be posted on ASD Title VII Indian Education’s Facebook page.  Like us!
For community events please visit:
Thank you,
Doreen Brown
Executive Director, Title VII Indian Education
Anchorage School District
(907) 742-4445

Alaska is first state to officially celebrate Indigenous People’s Day!

Alaska’s governor and the Anchorage mayor have both named the second Monday in October as “Indigenous Peoples Day,” joining the movement of cities across the country to reframe the federal Columbus Day holiday.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz signed the Municipality of Anchorage’s proclamation Monday morning during the opening remarks of the First Alaskans Institute Elders and Youth Conference, which brings hundreds of Alaska Natives from across the state to downtown Anchorage in the days leading up to the Alaska Federation of Natives convention.

The announcement was celebrated by a standing ovation from all attendees at the Elders and Youth Conference!

To read more about the story covered by Alaska Dispatch News click here.


Evening Program Begins!

We are excited to offer two locations for the Evening Program this school year. They are Chester Valley Elementary located at 1751 Patterson St. and Kincaid Elementary at 4900 Rasberry Rd. Both locations run Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.. We offer tutoring, cultural art and gym time with a great team of people with a passion for helping our students!

The program is geared for K-12 ASD students that are Alaska Native/American Indian and their families. We welcome parents, grandparents, and guardians to join us but you can also drop the students off. It is not only a great place to get homework help but to also have fun and to connect with other Native families in our community. During the winter months, it is a great place to play indoor sports and activities after finishing your homework! The cultural artists do many projects with the students and parents are welcome to bring in their own projects to share.

The Title VII staff welcome you to join us! All materials are provided. It is a FREE program. Students with regular attendance will be eligible to win an award! We hope to see you there.