1 December: Remembering Elizabeth Peratrovich on the day of passing
Elizabeth Peratrovich (4 July 1911 – 1 December 1958) was an Indigenous rights activist and civil rights leader who played a pivotal role in the fight against racial discrimination in Alaska. She was born in Petersburg, Alaska in 1911, and was a member of the Tlingit Native American tribe.
Life and Career
Peratrovich is best known for her work as a leader in the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) and the Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS), two organizations that were founded to advocate for the rights and interests of Indigenous people in Alaska. In the 1940s, she led the ANS in a campaign to pass anti-discrimination legislation in the state, and her efforts were instrumental in the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, religion, or national origin in Alaska.
Peratrovich’s activism extended beyond the realm of civil rights, and she also worked to preserve and promote the culture and traditions of her Tlingit tribe. In addition to her work with the ANB and ANS, she was also a founding member of the Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp 2, which was established to preserve and promote Tlingit culture and traditions.
Peratrovich passed away on 1 December 1958, but her legacy as a pioneer in the fight for Indigenous rights and civil rights in Alaska lives on. In 1988, she was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award in the United States, in recognition of her contributions to the fight against racial discrimination.
Award and Legacy
In 1988 the Alaska State Legislature declared February 16 as “Elizabeth Peratrovich Day,” and in 2020 the United States Mint released a $1 gold coin inscribed with Elizabeth’s likeness in honor of her historic achievements in the fight for equality.
On 30 December 2020, Google Doodle celebrated Elizabeth Peratrovich. This day was chosen because it was on this date in 1941 when the Peratroviches, after seeing a “No Natives Allowed” sign, decided to submit the petition to the governor.