MAY 18, 2016


Born on June 19,1929, in Yakutat, Alaska (AK), Elaine’s first language was Tlingit. Likely the first Tlingit registered nurse, she helped create the Southeast Health Aide Program providing health care in remote parts of AK. Leaving nursing, Abraham earned multiple degrees & worked on a doctorate in her 70s. At Sheldon Jackson College, she was Associate Dean of Students & Vice President for Institutional Development. Elaine co-founded the AK Native Language Center at 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 AK Native Science Commission, Abraham was the first AK Native to receive the American Indian Achievement Award, Indian Council Fire, in 1973. Elaine received the University of AK’s Meritorious Service Award in 1996 and was elected to the AK Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011. She died in Anchorage.

  Mike Dunham, "Elaine Abraham, ground-breaking Tlingit elder, dead at 87," Alaska Dispatch News, 5/18/2016.
Photo:  Courtesy of Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame.

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