Lifelong Juneau resident Harryet Rappier died April 9, 2010, at the Mountain View Retirement Home in Juneau. She was 84.
She was most recently internationally recognized as one of the first 17 Natives identified through DNA as a direct descendant of the Ice Man mummy discovered in a melting glacier in the wilds of British Columbia.
Born to Lucille Simenstead, she understood the Tlingit language. Her father, George Gore, was acclaimed in history to be the first man to notify America that WWI had ended via Morris code.
She and her two sisters, Mildred and Dorothy, "The Gore Sisters," were admired in Juneau during the 1940s for their ravishing beauty. Their younger brother, Dan Gore, returned to Juneau from Korea's Battle of Heartbreak Ridge and received a distinguished service award form the U.S. government.
As an accomplished young artist, her drawing permanently hangs in a Seward school of a hand holding a torch in which she entitled, "Keep the torch of peace forever burning." "Koon daa haa" was her Tlingit tribal name. She rode a majestic white horse she called "Frisco."
As the world simultaneously mourns the loss of the Cherokee leader, Juneau stops to honor a respected Tlingit elder who is ancestrally linked to one of the greatest and most historic archeological discoveries.
Harryet Rappier is Tlingit, Eagle, Killer Whale and was the progenitor of her family.
She is survived by her sister, Dorothy Rosenber, of Los Angeles; sons, Arley Dominguez, Wayne "Fu" Smallwood and Gene Smallwood; and grandchildren, great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews and a multitude of friends.
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