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Sealaska Board Member Clarence Jackson Passes


Today Clarence Jackson, our beloved traditional leader,  trustee, and scholar, quietly Walked Into The Forest at the age of 78.

Clarence was Tlingit of the Ch’áak’ (Eagle) moiety, Tsaagweidí (Killerwhale) clan of Kake, Alaska. His Tlingit names were Galtín, Asx’áak, Daa naawú, and Tá Gooch. Clarence Jackson's grandmother gave him the name Galtín, a Tsaagweidí name. When he was 3 years old he was given the name Asx'áak (Between Trees), a Kaagwaantaan name. Then his Dakl'aweidí relatives gave him the name Daa naawú, a Tsaagweidí name. Later, Peter and Frank Jack gave him their uncle's name, Tá Gooch (Sleeping Wolf), a Teikweidí name.

Clarence signed the Sealaska articles of incorporation in 1972.  He was the only Sealaska board member who served continuously since inception until now.

“He travelled throughout our communities comforting those who had lost loves ones,” said Sealaska board chair Albert Kookesh.  “He was our ambassador, he was the “Face” of Sealaska. We are enriched for having known him, and we are comforted to have the tremendous benefit of work that will touch generations to come. Cherished memories of him and his spirit will remain with us always.”

“He represented us with our business associates, and conveyed that we were not just a business corporation, but arose from Native Peoples and Native land as a Native institution,” said Chris E McNeil Jr., Sealaska president & CEO.

Clarence served on Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Board of Trustees since it was founded in 1980 and as Chair of its Council of Traditional Scholars, a panel of Elders and clan leaders who guide SHI on programs. He was invaluable and irreplaceable, as he generously shared his vast knowledge of the Tlingit language, history and culture, said SHI President Rosita Worl. 

He was also a gentle man adept at using humor to reach people, she said.

“Clarence was a Man of the People. He walked among our People.  His footsteps are embedded across our land.  He travelled across our waters and the salmon and halibut gave themselves to him because he willingly shared with many.  He laughed, joked and told stories.  He was a wise man, who could in a few words gently remind you that you could do better,” Worl said.

Click here to view video of Clarence speaking at Celebration 2012.

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