With a rousing speech to the Alaskan Territorial Legislature in 1945, Elizabeth Peratrovich became a Tlingit hero, inspiring the passage of an anti-discrimination bill.
In straightforward prose enhanced by photographs, Boochever (Bristol Bay Summer, 2014) outlines the history of Peratrovich’s fight for equality in Alaska at a time when harsh discrimination affected every area of Native peoples’ lives. A Tlingit woman born in 1911, Peratrovich was raised in the traditional lifestyle of subsistence gathering and grew up bilingual in English and Tlingit. As an adult during World War II, she bristled at the U.S. Army’s destruction of Aleut villages and the forced removal of their residents. With grace and composure, Peratrovich pursued her fight for equity, befriending the state’s governor; finding an ally in an airline owner, who helped her fly around Alaska for free; and accepting help from an orphanage director who watched her kids while she traveled, changing hearts and minds. With incredible determination she left her mark on everything from education to health care and the juvenile criminal justice system. The U.S. Mint will honor this Native American freedom fighter with a $1 commemorative coin in 2020, making this work timely. Reflections by Peratrovich Jr., Elizabeth’s son, on his mother’s passion and inspiration add life to an otherwise skeletal account of the facts.
A brief overview of the life of a notable activist who deserves greater recognition. (map, afterword, timeline, glossary, bibliography) (Biography. 12-18)