Kookesh’s Family Says He’s Doing Better

Sealaska officials say board Chairman Albert Kookesh is making slow but steady progress as he recovers from a Monday heart attack.

The Juneau-based regional Native corporation posted an online update this afternoon after speaking to his family. It says Kookesh has become more awake and alert during the past 48 hours and has been able to communicate with his family.

Sealaska says his strength is slowly returning.

Also, Providence Alaska Medical Center today upgraded his condition from critical to serious.

Kookesh served 16 years in the state House and Senate. The Tlingit leader from Angoon also co-chairs the Alaska Federation of Natives.

Family members have asked that no flowers be sent, since he is allergic. They have also requested friends and associates wait until he recovers further before trying to contact him.

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Ed Schoenfeld is Regional News Director for CoastAlaska, a consortium of public radio stations in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell. He primarily covers Southeast Alaska regional topics, including the state ferry system, transboundary mining, the Tongass National Forest and Native corporations and issues. He has also worked as a manager, editor and reporter for the Juneau Empire newspaper and Juneau public radio station KTOO. He’s also reported for commercial station KINY in Juneau and public stations KPFA in Berkley, WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and WUHY in Philadelphia. He’s lived in Alaska since 1979 and is a contributor to Alaska Public Radio Network newscasts, the Northwest (Public Radio) News Network and National Native News. He is a board member of the Alaska Press Club. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he lives in Douglas.