Remembering Clarence Jacksonby Senator Lisa Murkowski
Posted on 2013-02-27
MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I would like to take a moment to
reflect on the sad news that Clarence Jackson, a Tlingit elder,
``walked into the forest'' on January 31, 2013, at the age of 78.
Clarence Jackson was an individual who committed his life to the Native peoples of Alaska. Clarence was invaluable and irreplaceable, as he generously shared his vast knowledge of the [[Page S941]] Tlingit language, history and culture. In 1972, Jackson signed the articles of incorporation for Sealaska Corporation that was created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. As one of the original incorporators of Sealaska Corporation, he was the only board member to serve continuously from the time Sealaska was founded. He also served on the board of directors for Sealaska Timber Corporation and served as the chairman of the Sealaska Heritage Institute's Council of Traditional Scholars. But many saw him as an ambassador to the community. He was a gentle man adept at using humor to reach people. In his capacity on the board, he represented Sealaska at funerals, celebrations, and many other community events.
Clarence was born in Kake, AK, on May 24, 1934. He lived there most of his life, attending Sheldon Jackson School in Sitka. He continued on to Sheldon Jackson College in 1954. Growing up immersed in his Tlingit community allowed him to become a very articulate orator. He excelled through his teachings of the Tlingit culture. After college, Clarence moved back to Kake, where he became a fisherman and operated a small store.
In the 1960's, Clarence became a delegate to the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indians in the Alaska Native claims movement. He served as this council's president from 1972 through 1976.
Clarence also advocated for the importance of preserving the cultural values of all Native people and eloquently spoke to this at Celebration 2012 in Juneau.
Clarence positively impacted the lives of everyone he met. He accomplished a great deal for his Native people, and he was blessed with a truly wonderful family. Thanks to modern technology, his stories and life experiences will live on for eternity.
On behalf of the Senate I extend condolences to Clarence's family, his wife of 58 years, Gertrude Louise ``Lidda'' Paddock, and the Tlingit people of Southeast Alaska. His life has been appropriately honored with a ceremony at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, in Juneau, AK.