Alaska Native Sisterhood Delegates 1952 Hoonah


Alaska Native Sisterhood 1952

By the mid-1920's, nearly every Indian community in Southeast Alaska, always excepting Metlakatla, had a local branch of both the men's and the women's Alaska Native organizations, most of which have continued to function up to the present time. In the fall of 1952 there were active Brotherhood Camps at the following places: Angoon, Craig, Douglas, Haines, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Juneau, Kasaan, Kake, Ketchikan, Klawock, Kluckwan, Saxman, Sitka, Wrangell, and Yakutat. Alaska Native Sisterhood camps were active at the same places, except apparently at Kasaan, where none was reported, but instead there was a very active camp at Petersburg.

These Brotherhood halls varied from old, none-too-large structures in need of repair to huge well-equipped buildings like the new one at Hoonah, just completed in time for the 1952 convention at a cost of nearly $50,000 ($461,860 in 2017 dollars).

From Philip Drucker: “Perusal of the membership reports brings out the interesting fact that in 9 out of the 12 cases in which figures were given for both Brotherhood and Sisterhood camps, the women's organizations had larger paid-up memberships. This is consistent with the generally recognized greater activity of the Sisterhood camps, and their great effectiveness in fund raising. For example, at Angoon I was told that the Sisterhood chapter met early on the evening at which financial arrangements were to be made for sending the Angoon delegation to the 1952 convention. When the men finally assembled, the women proudly announced that there was nothing left to arrange: the Sisterhood had collected all the money necessary. This sort of thing appears to be typical, and is one of the chief reasons for the oft-repeated saying that ‘the Alaska Native Sisterhood is the backbone of the Brotherhood.’"

The above information was taken from The Native Brotherhoods: Modern Intertribal Organizations on the Northwest Coast, By Philip Drucker, 1958,