TLINGIT TRANSLATOR EDUCATOR TILLIE PAUL BORN
Born in Victoria, British Columbia, Tillie had a Tlingit mother and Scottish father. After her mother died, she was raised by an aunt and uncle in Wrangall, Alaska. Within the Presbyterian Church, Tillie worked as translator and educator. She and her husband, Louis, were the first Native couple commissioned as missionaries. Widowed in 1886, she moved to Sitka where she taught school, lectured on Tlingit culture, created a Tlingit writing alphabet, and compiled a Tlingit dictionary. She also translated hymns still used by Tlingit Christians. In 1905, she helped found a temperance league aimed at alcoholism in Native communities which became both the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood, Native rights advocacy groups. In 1922, she helped a Tlingit relative to vote—then a felony. Her son, William [see March 4], defended the voter and Tillie as American citizens, and won. This led to the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. In 1931, she was ordained a church elder. Tillie died August 20, 1952, in Wrangall.
Sources: “SJ Names Place to Honor Tlingit Woman, Tillie Paul,” Daily Sitka Sentinel, 10/19/1979, p. 5. Retrieved 6/5/2019, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/3761301/campus_building_named_for_tillie_paul/. “An Alaskan Anthology: Interpreting the Past,” ed. Stephen W. Haycox, Mary Childers, Mangusso (University of Washington Press: 1996), pp. 164-168. Photo: Mary Lee Davis, 1931. Public domain. Copyright, if one existed, was not renewed.