JUNE 19, 1929


Born in Yakutat, Alaska, Elaine’s first language was Tlingit.  Likely the first Tlingit registered nurse, she helped create the Southeast Health Aide Program for providing health care in remote parts of Alaska.  Leaving nursing, she earned multiple degrees and worked on a doctorate in her 70s.  At Sheldon Jackson College, she was associate dean of students and vice president for institutional development.  Abraham co-founded the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska and, as vice president of rural education affairs, helped establish community colleges in underserved Native areas.  Active in numerous organizations, including the Yakutat Native Corp., Yakutat Tlingit Tribes Council, and Alaska Native Science Commission, she was the first Alaska Native to receive the American Indian Achievement Award, Indian Council Fire, in 1973.  She received the University of Alaska’s Meritorious Service Award in 1996 and was elected to the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011.  She died May 18, 2016, in Anchorage.

Source:  Mike Dunham, "Elaine Abraham, ground-breaking Tlingit elder, dead at 87," Alaska Dispatch News, 5/18/2016.  https://www.adn.com/education/article/elizabeth-abraham-ground-breaking-tlingit-elder-dead-87/2016/05/18/
Photo:  Courtesy of Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame.  Source:  http://alaskawomenshalloffame.org/alumnae/

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