by Peter Twitchell
I would like to talk about growing up in Bethel, Alaska and one man in particular. That was our tribal chief Edward Hoffman who never neglected us boys. The moment we ran into each other he would give us advice. He had a presence that was welcome and I grew to expect him to tell me something worthwhile when I was growing up.
When I’d run into Chief Eddie outside the post office or outside the store he told me and instructed me each time “go get a haircut”. He always told the boys and I believe those he was fond of. Most of all I appreciated the fact that he never neglected those who he cared about, and that was his people – the native people of Southwest Alaska.
I always got a kick out of this as he would smile a big smile and laugh ha ha ha ha ha. To me it was uplifting and a healthy approach.
Guess what? Us boys did as we were told and got our haircut. I never saw anyone arguing with Chief Eddie about what he instructed us to do.
Once I had hit my teen years there was another important instruction from Chief Eddie. He always told the boys “hurry up and get married,” ha ha ha ha. Which we did as far as I know. All the boys I grew up with got hitched.
I heard someone say one time this appropriate comment that Chief Edward Hoffman was the Chief of everything in his Tribe, our people.
He also said to me at one point “hurry up and go to school” and then after I had finished high school he looked at me, smiled a big smile and said, “hurry up and get married!” Ha ha ha ha ha!
Which I did.
Just as soon as we got married he told me when he saw me, “hurry up and have kids.” Ha ha ha ha ha ha. We all heeded the friendly instructions and the population of Bethel slowly grew.
Later I heard a comment from Walter J. Hickel, city official of Anchorage and our state Governor, “Chief Edward could walk into anyone’s office and Wally Hickel’s Office without introduction or announcement” and he walked into that office without knocking and was always welcomed.
I grinned and chuckled when I first heard this but I was not surprised.
There was never again a man of that caliber, and the greatness, of our Chief Edward Hoffman in Bethel, Alaska. Thank you Chief Eddie for always making me good by your friendly instructions to me when I was growing up. You never ignored your people, you were a true friend of all people of Alaska and especially to all of us in Bethel.
My Final comment is my sincere thanks. Thank you Chief Eddie for my 20 years at the KYUK radio station as Radio Operations Manager 1975 to 1994. In the first leadership of Bethel Broadcasting, Inc. you supported me all the way when others thought otherwise. You encouraged me and supported me. Quyana!