Wilma Baines-Chahim

Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Former Juneau resident Wilma Jean Baines-Chahim died in her home on March 15, 2009, in Metlakatla after a 15-year battle with breast cancer.

Wilma was born Aug. 19, 1949, in Metlakatla to Wilfred and Loretta (Haldane) Baines. She is Gisbutwada Tsimshian Killer Whale; her father was Neix.adi, Cape Fox Saxman.

She began her education by attending Metlakatla High School and earned her bachelor's degree from Alaska Methodist University. Her lifelong drive for personal and professional growth and unflinching dedication to her community led her to earn her Master of Education in guidance and counseling from the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. She served as guidance counselor at Richard Johnson Elementary School for 20 years, enhancing the lives of a generation of Metlakatla youngsters.

Her determined energy radiated through her work for the revitalization of her culture. She was an accomplished native artist and a drummer and singer in the fourth-generation Tsimshian Dancers, Killerwhale Dance Group of Metlakatla and the Lepquinm Gumilgit Gagoadim Tsimshian Dancers. She served as an instructor of an online college course in Multicultural Education at University of Alaska Southeast and more recently, taught Sm'algyax - Tsimshian language and heritage - at the elementary school.

Her love for family strengthened everybody, her family said.

She is survived by her mother, Loretta Baines; husband, Mohamed Chahim; brother, Ray Baines and wife, Lori; sister, Mary Demmert and husband, Allen; son, Alfred Price and wife, Kristin; granddaughter, Kathryn Fannie Price; grandson, Joel Wilfred Price; aunt, Mary Jones; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at Metlakatla Presbyterian Church. She will be cremated as is her wish and her ashes spread at her favorite fishing hot-spot.

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