Manicure is key to story of city's founding

Posted: Friday, June 17, 2005

On the WaterfrontBy Elton Engstrom

Here is my nomination for the most beautiful manicurist in town. She is Bernadine Peterson. She and her husband, Brian Lupro, run Nail Jazz located in the Gastineau Building across from Hearthside Books.

I've never had a manicure in 70 years except by myself and my mom. So I ventured up South Franklin Street to Nail Jazz. But I had another motive, too. I wanted to get a story.

Let me go back in time to 1880, when Juneau began. A few gold miners rowed over from Sitka. Also laying the foundation of our city were two groups of Tlingit people.

One was the Auk people and the other was the Taku. They settled in Juneau to work in the mining activity along Gold Creek. These groups are described in a book written by Aurel Krause, printed in Jena, Germany, in 1885, called "Die Tlingit-Indianer," translated by Erna Gunther and printed by the University of Washington press in 1956. Here is Krause's description:

"A third tribe of the Tlingit is the Ak-kon, who are in several villages on the north shore of Admiralty Island and on the mainland southeast of the opening of Lynn Canal. Many Auks have settled near the new prospector's town of Juneau. The census of 1880 counted three villages of the Auks and numbered six hundred and forty people.

"As neighbors, the Auks have the Taku-kon, who have settled on Stephens Passage at the entrance of Taku Bay and Taku River. From these places the Taku people trade with the Indians of the interior over reasonably high passes to the tributaries of the Yukon just as the Chilkat do. According to the census of 1880, the Taku tribe consisted of two hundred and sixty-nine people who lived in four villages on Taku River and Taku Bay.

"The Taku have, just like the Auks, settled in large numbers near the prospector's town of Juneau. Named after the swift river running through the valley, the latter place is known to the Tlingit as Tsenta-ka-hini."

Bernadine's family is from the Taku branch of the Tlingit people. Her mother, Mary Hubbard Peterson, was born on the river in 1920. She married John Peterson, from Gustavus and Hoonah, and they had five children. Their son, John Peterson, is living in the Lower 48, but the four girls are here in Juneau. They are Alberta Peratrovich, Agnes Davis, Henrietta Wells and Bernadine. Bernadine told me she was of the Raven Frog Ishitaan people, and her nephew is the chief in a progression from Chief Aanyalahaash to Jimmie Fox to Edward Hubbard to Kirk Perisich.

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