Emma Olga Olsen

Posted: Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Emma Olga Olsen, a longtime community and Alaska Native Sisterhood leader, died the morning of Dec. 26, 2006, in Juneau. She was 87.

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Born July 22, 1919, in Dundas Bay to Sam and Sally Hopkins, she was a Yaashundoosteen, of the Tin.aa.Hit (Copper Shield House) of the Kiks.adi, Frog Tribe. She married her husband of 63 years, Oscar P. Olsen, on April 12, 1945, in Juneau.

She served 15 terms as president of Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp 2, and was one of the longest serving presidents in the camp's history.

She learned the importance of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and ANS from her parents and continued in their footsteps.

During her tenure as president of Camp 2, her focus was always on education. The "Tlingit Tea for Teachers" was initiated during her presidency, as well as JOM.

Juneau's Indian Studies programs were a top priority during her administration.

She was also concerned with fundraising. Under her leadership, the sisters worked hard to raise money for the Juneau Children's Home, the Public Health Service Alaska Native Health Clinic and St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. She and the sisters also hosted dinners for graduating seniors, a Christmas party for children and an annual Founder's Day dinner that honored life members of the ANS.

She was active in the formation of SEARHC as chair of the Juneau Clinic Advisory Board. She and her husband have been among the most generous donors of Native foods for the annual Gold Medal Native foods fundraiser. Her culture was very important. She was a member of the Yaaaw Tei Yi (Herring Rock) Dancers.

She was the last surviving member of her seven siblings.

She is survived by her husband; sons Ole Olsen, of Phoenix; Fred Hopkins and his wife, Marietta; Erling Olsen and his wife, Sharon, of Juneau; Eric Olsen, his wife Pat, of Juneau, as well as nine grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the ANB Hall. A funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Friday at the ANB Hall.

Pallbearers will be Fred E. Hopkins, Jason Murdoch, O.P. Olsen, John Shorty, Ozzie Sheakley and Shorty Tonsgard. Honorary pallbearers are Bob Anderson John Duncan, Archie Nielsen, John Nielsen, George Williams, Len Sevdy, Sam Wanamaker, Randy Wanamaker, Ron Williams, Marcello Quinto, Ralph Knundson, Ole Taug and Andy Ebona.

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