Our Leaders, past and present

by Peter Twitchell

Today, I want to focus on a couple of our Native Leaders past and present. First from the homeland – Bethel and Yup’ik Country. Nora Guinn was a great leader and District Judge. You know and I know the accomplishments of our first Yup’ik judge.

I want to focus on one thing I witnessed as a student at the Kilbuck School. Nora was responsible for creating the process for student court. Students interested were selected by their peers to hear cases of bullying, vandalism, and misbehaving beyond the norm within the community and school grounds.

For instance, we had students clean chalkboard erasers and even do some community service. This action was a big deterrent to many students. It made you think about what was right and wrong.

Our Chief Edward Hoffman was a great leader. He stood up for our people, and got things done. He stood for what was right. He saw to it, his people got jobs and kept them. If you were from here and Eddie was on the governing body of Board of Directors, you couldn’t fire a worker from any organization he represented unless you were stealing money from them.

Unfortunately, there is active and ongoing discrimination within our local organizations today. What happened to the tree Edward Hoffman planted? Why hasn’t it been flourishing? I have to wonder when a Yup’ik who’s a hard productive worker is fired from a job, they were doing so well.

Understand one thing, the work that these great leaders lived and breathed isn’t being nurtured by some of our modern leaders. The spirit of Nora and Edward lives on in our present day leaders like Ana Cooke Hoffman, Vivian Johnson Korthuis, and Andrew Guy.

Thank you.