Ernie Hillman, Sr.

Ernie Hillman, Sr. was a cultural leader and spokesman for the Chookanedi clan.

Ernie Hillman, Sr. (Es kayw'dusa), T’akdeintaan, G’aanaxaa Hít (Seagull House), was a lifelong advocate for his people.  His family owned properties in Hoonah including a store, and had a sawmill in Excursion Inlet.  Later they built another near the Hoonah cemetery at Sawmill Creek.  Ernie and Gerald Gray were friends in Sitka; he was known to be a hard worker.  Ernie became a magistrate in Sitka which is how he earned the nickname “Judge”.  He served many years on the Huna Totem Corporation board and became the Deputy Director of the Tlingit and Haida Regional Housing Authority.  His mother, Alice Hillman was a midwife and delivered many babies.  When Bob Loescher was the director of Sealaska he kept Ernie on even after he retired to do consulting contacts in BLM.  Ernie could “walk things through” the bureaucracy because of the many relationships he had fostered over the years.  He and Gerald Gray worked for the maintenance crew for Mount Edgecumbe high school in Sitka; at one point Ernie ran one of the ferries to Japanski Island before the bridge was built.  An avid hand troller, Ernie and Gerald invented the first “wire wheels” in a shop at Mt. Edgecumbe High School.  

Ernie Hillman