David Kadashan with Ida Kadashan and Children

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David Kadashan

David "Tuffy" Kadashan was born on June 5, 1893 in Hoonah.  His Tlingit name was Kaatyé/ Yéil Yádi, he was T’akdeintaan, Tsalxaan Hít (Mt. Fairweather House). He was a longtime resident of southeast Alaska. He was born in Juneau but moved to Hoonah where he worked as a commercial fisherman.  David Kadashan was an avid musician in both Tlingit and contemporary Western music during the big band era, and became a traditional orator and song leader of high standing.  He was a drummer with the Mt. Fairweather Tlingit Dancers and played music with them up to the age of 83. He also played the Xylophone. 

He married Ida Osborne (Hopkins) after her first husband and father of her children, Luke Osborne, disappeared in a boating accident in 1940.  Luke Osborne was his clan brother; David Kadashan married Ida and helped raise her children.  Ida and David Kadashan held the ANS/ANB and junior meetings at their home before the hall was built in Hoonah.

He was an elder of the Presbyterian Church at Hoonah, a member of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and a former member of the Alaska Territorial Guard.

Many authors sought him out for his knowledge of traditional music and song.  There is a dedication to him in the book Beginning Tlingit (Nora Marks Dauenhauer, Fourth Edition Sealaska Heritage Foundation Press Juneau).  “… Dedicated to the pioneer teachers and students of Tlingit who labored mostly for love much of which was unrequited.”

His writing and voice are noted in Alaska Native Writers, Storytellers & Orators: The Expanded Edition (Editors: Jeane Breinig and Patricia Partnow; Executive Editor: Ronald Spatz), Vol. 17, No. 3 & 4,

He was a contributor to the Tlingit Dictionary, published by the University Of Alaska Southeast and Goldbelt Heritage Foundation Juneau, Alaska, X̱ʼunei Lance Twitchell, editor, 2016.

David Kadashan is also quoted in Haa Tuwunáagu Yís, Dauenhauer & Dauenhauer 1990, “In this world, we’re still holding each other’s hands.”

David Kadashan, Tʼaḵdeintaan, died October 1, 1976 at the Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka.  Funeral services were held in Juneau at the Northern Light United Church.