By Janice Jackson
January 12, 2006
February 16th is also Elizabeth Peratrovich Day. Elizabeth & Roy Peratrovich were Grand Presidents of the Alaska Native Sisterhood and Alaska Native Brotherhood during the push for equal rights legislation which was passed on behalf of Native Alaskans in Alaska in 1945.
As Grand Camp President of the Alaska Native Sisterhood, Elizabeth provided the crucial testimony that cultivated passage of the Anti Discrimination Bill. It was her response when questioned by the Senate "Will the equal rights bill eliminate discrimination in Alaska?" -- that split the opposition and allowed the bill to pass.
Elizabeth answered, "Have you eliminated larceny or murder by passing a law against it? No law will eliminate crimes but, at least you as legislators, can assert to the world that you recognize the evil of the present situation and speak your intent to help us overcome discrimination." As Elizabeth stepped down from the Senate platform, the galleries and some of the senators gave her a rousing acclaim. The Senate passed the bill 11 to 5.
With the help of then Governor Ernest Gruening and Congressional Representative Anthony J. Dimond, as well as the Alaska Native Brotherhood & Sisterhood, legislation was sponsored and introduced in the Legislature in 1943. However, the "Equal Rights" Bill did not pass until the next legislative session in 1945. A new era in Alaska's racial relations had begun. (Thinkquest.org)
The local Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood camps will host a celebration in honor of Elizabeth Peratrovich on February 16, 2006, and all are welcome to attend this celebration. More details will be announced shortly on SitNews.
About: Janice Jackson is a
member of the Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp 14, Ketchikan, and
a past Vice-President of the Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp.
Archive - Elizabeth Peratrovich Day 2005:
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.