Alice E. Brown papers part 2: Multiple pathways, same destination

Guest blogger: Mariecris

I have been steadily working on Alice’s papers and am really enjoying it!  But I needed to stop and share some of the interesting things I’m seeing, learning, and doing.  First of all, Alice did a wonderful job of keeping her records in a particular order.  It didn’t come in meticulous filed papers with perfectly typed and color coded tabs most often seen in organizational/business records. Instead, Alice’s papers came in with wonderful description and a series of distinct groupings.  She grouped records according to how she worked with these records, thus providing insight into how she worked.  Correspondence tended to be segregated into its own little group.  My best guess for why she did so was to help her keep track of conversations and remember to respond to certain letters.  This would explain why some letters made it into organization related folders.  In addition, some of the correspondence did not clearly refer to just one of the many organizations she actively represented and participated. But all the letters addressed to Alice E. Brown (or Mrs. Elmer Brown) relate to her advocacy for Alaska Native rights.  And it was through her multiple roles that she worked to advocate for Alaska Natives and underrepresented peoples.  Some of these roles include being a:

  • member of the Alaska Federation of Native’s (AFN) board of directors since the inception of the AFN
  • field representative of the Kenai Indian Association
  • active member of the National Congress of American Indians, Cook Inlet Native Association, and Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indians of Alaska
  • member of the Alaska state sponsored Land Task Force
  • active member in the Anchorage Democratic Club, a delegate at the South Central Democratic District Convention in Seward in 1967, and serving as an election counter
  • board member of the Jesse Lee Home and Hope Cottage
  • member of the Greater Anchorage Area Borough Advisory Health Board
  • member of the Rural Affairs Commission during Hickel and Egan administrations

Her participation in a diverse group of Alaska Native and Indian organizations, state committees, and educational boards illustrate multiple and simultaneous pathways Alice traveled to reach the same destination: equality and justice for Alaska Natives and all underrepresented peoples.

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