Greg Brown dressed in Traditional Regalia in Glacier Bay

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Greg Brown with two teachers on a trip with students to Glacier Bay.
Traditional Knowledge: 

Greg Brown

Greg Brown, Tlingit names Shaa yawk nook & Kuch.Ein, Teikweidí clan, Various Houses is a Hoonah Tlingit who has been involved with Native Education for many years.  He is probably best known for standing up for the rights of the Huna people to hunt traditionally in their traditional homeland of Glacier Bay.

From: Being and Place among the Tlingit, By Thomas F. Thornton:

“Greg Brown was hunting on Chookaneidi ancestral lands and at a particular hunting site used for generations by Huna seal hunters, including his uncle, who had successfully instructed his nephew on the significance of the site and on how to use the site to hunt seal accurately and effectively (i.e., without striking and losing them), just prior to the run-in with part officials.  If Greg Brown’s seal had made it to the potlatch it would have been recognized as a Glacier Bay seal, a gift from Chookaneidi traditional cultural property, land that still provides sustenance, where the memories and spirits of ancestors still dwell and where younger hunters like Greg Brown follow in their elder’s footsteps.  In short it would have been recognized as a beautiful act, pregnant with symbolic as well as material significance, exquisite in its balance and symmetry.

In the context of the potlatch the seal also would have given special comfort to the deceased.  For the ancestors can feel the nourishment and comfort of foods (and other gifs, such as blankets) bestowed upon them (and other guests0 as part of the ritual.  Such gifts from the homeland help to guide and sustain the deceased on their arduous journey to the land of the dead…”

Park Service rangers cited Greg Brown for killing a hair seal in park waters.

From: Land Reborn: A History of Administration and Visitor Use in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, National Park Service

“The rangers seized Brown's rifle and the dead seal and wrote him a citation. He was ordered to appear before a federal magistrate in Juneau where he would face up to a $500 fine.

Word of Brown's arrest sparked strong feelings in Hoonah. Brown claimed that he wanted the seal for a "payback party," a kind of potlatch that his uncle (the captain of the fishing vessel) was having in honor of his recently deceased son.  With that in mind, Brown and another crew member had taken the skiff to Garforth Island where they shot the seal. The Huna Traditional Tribal Council quickly came to Brown's defense, sending a letter and resolution to Senators Stevens and Murkowski and Representative Young. "We are made criminals for our food," the letter charged, protesting that the government was ignoring Hoonah's culture and its historical ties to Glacier Bay. [17]

The incident raised afresh all the old questions about seal hunting: its cultural and economic significance to the Hoonah people, its extent in the park, its biological and aesthetic implications. Even the most basic questions, it seemed, would be open to dispute. According to Brown, one of the rangers who made the arrest commented to him, "Nobody's hunted up there for years," to which Brown replied, "I guess I'm the first to get caught." With Murkowski and Young likely to reintroduce their park legislation the next year, it was unclear which way the seal hunting incident would cut in the Tlingits' bid to regain subsistence rights in the park.”

A court ruled in 1994 that Greg Brown has a right to shoot seals in Glacier Bay National park.

Greg Brown