First Nations Celebrates Native Civil Rights Activist Elizabeth Peratrovich
LONGMONT, Colo. (February 10, 2021) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) will be closed Tuesday, February 16, 2021, in honor of Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, an annual event that recognizes Elizabeth Jean Peratrovich (Tlingit), a civil rights activist who worked on behalf of equality for Alaska Natives.
In the 1940s, Peratrovich was credited with advocacy that gained passage of the Alaska territory’s Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945, the very first anti-discrimination law in the United States. In 1988, the Alaska Legislature established February 16 as Elizabeth Peratrovich Day in remembrance of the day the bill was signed and in honor of her “courageous, unceasing efforts to eliminate discrimination and bring about equal rights in Alaska.”
While First Nations has long honored this day, the event is especially important this year in light of heightened awareness of civil rights and new efforts toward equity and diversity, according to First Nations President and CEO Michael Roberts, who is also Tlingit and who is related to Peratrovich.
“This year, there have indeed been advancements for Native people, from the nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland as US Secretary of the Interior, to new legislation protecting Native resources and land,” Roberts said. “We still have a long way to go, but on this day we show our gratitude to Peratrovich, who paved the way for this progress and brought national attention to the injustice, prejudice and discrimination against Native peoples.”
Elizabeth Peratrovich Day is celebrated in Alaska, and, according to the Anchorage School District, the day provides “an opportunity to remind the public of the invaluable contribution of this Native Alaskan leader who was an advocate for Native citizens and their rights. This courageous woman could not remain silent.”
The day has gained further prominence after being featured in a December 30, 2020, Google Doodle by Sitka, Alaska-based guest artist Michaela Goade.
First Nations will return to regular business hours on Wednesday, February 17, 2021.
About First Nations Development Institute
For 40 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.