Mark Jacobs Jr.
Tlingit and civic leader dies at 81
January 18, 2005
Alaska Native and Tlingit leader Mark Jacobs Jr., 81, died Jan. 13, 2005,
at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital, with his wife and son at his side.
An Alaska Native Brotherhood Service and a Tlingit memorial service will
begin at 6 p.m. today at the Sheet'kakhwaan Naakahidee in Sitka. A funeral
will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Centennial Building with the Rev. Bill
Welch and the Rev. Paul Chulik Jr. officiating. Burial will be after the
funeral in Sitka National Cemetery. After the burial, a reception will be
held at the Centennial Building.
Mr. Jacobs was born Nov. 28, 1923, in Sitka to Mark and Annie (Paul)
Jacobs. He was a member of the Dakl'aweidi (Killer Whale clan).
His Tlingit names were Saa.aat', Keet w', Oode'ishk'aduneek and
Gusteiheen. Most recently, he was given the name Woochkkaduhaa; he was the
naashaadeiha'ni (clan leader) of the Killer Whale clan. A noted historian,
he was the last male speaker of his lineage and house-group. He enjoyed
speaking Tlingit with others and telling stories.
He attended a segregated school system for Natives in Sitka Village and
spent his younger years at the family camp at Wat'ateen in Hoonah Sound
and at Chatham Cannery. He attended Sheldon Jackson High School, but his
studies were interrupted by military service in World War II. He returned
to Sheldon Jackson High School and graduated in 1947.
During four years of military service, nearly all of which were sea duty
and in war zones, he served on the USS New Mexico in the Aleutians and on
the USS Newberry, the last two years served in the Amphibious Forces in
the South Pacific. He and his brother, Harvey, never attended basic
training and were immediately put to work on "picket boats" in the Icy
Straits area. Using "code," he and his brother were part of a group of
lesser-known code talkers, communicating only in the Tlingit language.
After his honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy, he became active in
the local Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp and held various offices,
including President of Sitka Camp 1, working actively on the land claims.
When he served as an ANB delegate in many annual conventions and as a
Tlingit and Haida delegate from Sitka, his strong voice needed no
microphone, nor did he need notes. He was active in the Alaska Federation
of Natives conventions as well as the National Con
gress of American
He completed more than 34 years of service on the Executive Council of
the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. The
council voted unanimously to appoint Mr. Jacobs the very first Executive
Council member emeritus in recognition of his many years of dedicated
service. He also served on the interim board of directors of Sealaska and
two additional three-year terms on the Sealaska board of directors. He was
also on the interim board of directors of Sitka's Native urban corporation,
Shee Atika Inc. He served on the Boats and Harbors Commission and the
Historic Preservation Society, and was a charter member of the Civil Air
Patrol in Sitka and a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars.
He was a steadfast supporter and member of the Sitka Assembly of God
Aside from his many years as a fisherman with his father Mark Jacobs Sr.
on the F/V Rondout, he was a union member (Local 942), retiring in 1985.
He served as area steward for many years and was involved in construction
and blasting of many of the roads around Sitka, at Blue Lake and Green
Lake dams and the Sitka airport. He did the blasting that leveled the
islands for the airport extension and many other projects around town and
Southeast. A licensed and experienced driller and powder man, he was asked
once what qualified him to be on the board of a corporation. He said, "I
know the best how to handle explosive situations!"
All of his involvements in civic affairs cannot be fully listed. He was
on the State Parks Advisory Board in Sitka. He served on the Southeast
Alaska Native Subsistence Commission as vice chairman and the local Sitka
Fish and Game Advisory Committee, was the first member representing
Tlingit and Haida on the Rural Alaska Resources Association, dealing with
the first State of Alaska and sportsmen's fish and game challenges to
rural preference law mandated by the Alaska National Interest Lands
Conservation Act. Appointed by Gov. Wally Hickel, he served two years as
director of rural development. For the City and Borough of Sitka, he
served as chairman of the harbor commission and also chairman of the
historical archaeology commission.
On the national level, Mr. Jacobs was appointed a member of the Native
American Veteran Advisory Commission. Many of his proposals became law
when the Veterans Omnibus Bill was enacted. His input helped Sen. Daniel
Inouye's draft bill on the Native American Graves Protection and
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Adelaide (Bartness); sons,
Harold Jacobs of Sitka and Tony Jacobs of Seattle; five grandchildren and
five great-grandchildren; sister and her spouse, Bertha and Peter Karras
of Sitka; brother, Wally Jacobs of Seattle; aunts, Matilda Gamble and
Irene Paul; and clan mother, Margaret Abbott.
He was preceded in death by his sons, Richard Jacobs and Phillip Jacobs;
daughter, Karen Mann; brothers, Harvey Jacobs Sr., Hamilton Jacobs, Ernie
Jacobs and Franklin Jacobs; and sister, Rose Barnes.
Source: The Anchorage Daily News.
Daily News staff.