Hoonah Alaska Native Brothers and Sisters


Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall

Hoonah, the largest Indian village in southeast Alaska, reported a total of 35 members in good standing in the Brotherhood and 40 in the Sisterhood. Most of the people in the community cooperate with the Brotherhood and Sisterhood and support them in various other ways. For example, I was told by the man who acted as timekeeper, that when the new Alaska Native Brotherhood hall at Hoonah was being put up early in 1952, one hundred fifty-some-odd men volunteered for labor, turning out in one or the other of the usual three work gangs during the 2 months it took to complete the rough construction.

In the weeks immediately preceding the convention during which the interior of the hall was finished and the specialized jobs such as installing of wiring, plumbing, heating plant, etc. were being carried on, there was no lack of assistance. In other words, most of the young and middle-aged able-bodied men and many of the elderly ones gave liberal free labor to help build the hall. They also contributed a considerable sum of money for the purchase of materials. A great deal of this was raised by donations. Numerous individuals, whether members in good standing or not, attended regular A.N.B. meetings and would find occasion to take the floor and announce a certain donation toward the hall. Benefit movies were also shown for the hall and were very well attended by the members of the community who contributed in that way. I do not have a detailed breakdown on the source of funds (except that I was told that various camps sent $100 contributions to assist construction of the new hall after the old one burned down), but most of the $11,700 reported by the Hoonah camp as the cost of materials for the hall was raised locally and represents donations by local people. In other words, despite what appears to be rather low membership, the Hoonah Camp could count on and get very substantial local support.

The above information was taken from The Native Brotherhoods: Modern Intertribal Organizations on the Northwest Coast, By Philip Drucker, 1958, http://www.alaskool.org/projects/native_gov/documents/anb/anb_2.htm