Juneau residents marked Elizabeth Peratrovich Day on Sunday, celebrating the Alaska Native civil rights hero with speeches, songs, and dance performances at Thunder Mountain High School.
Democratic candidate for governor, Byron Mallott, gave the keynote speech.
Like Peratrovich, Mallott is Tlingit. He’s expected to get his party’s nomination, and will try to unseat Republican incumbent Sean Parnell this fall. If he succeeds, Mallott would be the first Alaska Native governor in state history.
The 70-year-old said that when he was a young man he worked with Elizabeth Peratrovich’s husband, Roy, on Alaska Native land claims.
“And dare I say this, he possibly might have thought that someday in the future, a Tlingit man might stand as a candidate for the governor of Alaska,” Mallott said.
The Peratrovichs were leaders of the Alaska Native Sisterhood and Brotherhood in the early 1940s, a time when segregation and open prejudice against Native people were commonplace in Juneau. Elizabeth’s testimony to the Alaska Territorial Senate sparked passage of the territory’s Anti-Discrimination Act.
Elizabeth Peratrovich Day marks the anniversary of the act being signed into law on February 16th, 1945.
Sunday’s celebration was sponsored by ANS and ANB Camp 70, ANS Camp 2, and the Juneau School District.
Juneau Representative Cathy Munoz, a Republican, served as emcee.
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