Southeast tribal leader Paul Jackson dies at 75

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Paul Jackson, cultural leader of the Sockeye Clan of Haines, died Monday. He was 75.

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Jackson was born in Yakutat and lived in Juneau and Seattle while filling his role as keeper of his people's traditions. He educated his own family as well as others in the Tlingit protocol that guided him.

Jackson served as a Tlingit culture consultant to the Sealaska Corp., University of Alaska Southeast, and the Juneau School District, as well as a spokesman who appeared at public functions and in regional films.

He was a father to eight children and husband to three wives. Before retiring, he worked as a merchant seaman.

Larry Jackson said his father was involved in the community, including playing saxophone in the band Off Beat Five and acting with the Naa Kahidi Theatre, a former Native theater group that was part of Sealaska Heritage Institute.

Whether leading 1,500 dancers during the opening ceremonies of the biennial Celebration - a several-day Native event that focuses on traditional dancing, music and culture - or educating his nephew, Paul Marks, to take his place as cultural leader, everything had to be done a certain way, according to Marks. He said it was Jackson's role to teach him how to be a man and how to provide success for his family.

"He taught me language, to not be timid and to speak when called upon," Marks said. "We walked together in many ways."

Tradition called for and Jackson wished to pass his role as leader and keeper of traditional ways and knowledge to Marks, his son Jim Jackson said.

The family said funeral arrangements are being planned and should be announced by the end of the week.

• Contact Greg Skinner at 523-2258 or

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