MAY 22, 2011


Born in Killisnoo, Alaska, November 14, 1908, Walter, whose Tlingit name meant “One slain in battle,” loved school.  His greatest lesson: “Take care of the old person you are going to become.”  His influences included Abraham Lincoln, Booker T. Washington, and Rudyard Kipling.  He received a scholarship in 1933 to the University of Dubuque in Iowa and earned both a bachelor’s degree in education and graduate degree in divinity there.  In 1940, after ordainment, he settled in Juneau as pastor of Memorial Presbyterian Church, but spread his ministry by radio and via fishing boats to villages and logging camps.  At age 100, Walter was championing native rights, cultural education, and love for humanity, and was engaged at Council, Sealaska, and in the Alaska Native Brotherhood.  Asked what he wanted for his 100th birthday, he first thought about a wild game stew, but simply asked for no more wars.  “Respect People.  Respect yourself, too, and other people will respect you.”  He died at home amongst family.

Source:  Klas Stolpe, "Noted Tlingit elder Walter Soboleff dies," Juneau Empire, 6/22/2011.  Retrieved 7/1/2019, Deirdre L. McGee, “Alaskan Tlingit Elder Leaves Long-Lasting Legacy,” U.S. Department of Agriculture, 6/24/2011.  Retrieved  7/1/2019,
Photo:  U.S. Department of Agriculture, date unknown.  Public Domain.  Photograph taken by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code

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