Governor Nominates Elizabeth Peratrovich As The Face of the $10 Bill

Elizabeth Peratrovich was a Tlingit civil rights activist. Photo courtesy Governor Walker's office.
Elizabeth Peratrovich was a Tlingit civil rights activist. Photo courtesy Governor Walker’s office.

The Walker-Mallott administration has nominated a Tlingit civil-rights leader to be on the new $10 bill.

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The governor and lieutenant governor say Elizabeth Peratrovich fits the bill well. The U.S. Treasury is collecting nominations of women who were champions for democracy to put on the redesigned note.

Peratrovich and her husband Roy were leaders in the campaign for equal rights for Alaska Natives.

She’s most famous for her 1945 speech to the Territorial Senate during debate on a bill to prohibit racial discrimination in the state.

Speaking as an Alaska Native Sisterhood representative, Peratrovich addressed those referring to Natives as “savages.”

She said, quote, “I would not have expected that I, who am barely out of savagery, would have to remind gentlemen with 5,000 years of recorded civilization behind them of our Bill of Rights.” The Alaska Civil Rights Act passed.

Walker, in his nomination, wrote that Peratrovich helped make Alaska, quote, “the nation’s first organized government to end legal discrimination.”

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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.