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Vida Davis, Tlingit culture bearer, dies

Vida Davis played a vital role in Tlingit language revitalization in Sitka. (photo courtesy of Heather Powell)

Vida Davis played a vital role in Tlingit language revitalization in Sitka. (photo courtesy of Heather Powell)

Services have been scheduled for Vida Davis, a long time Sitka resident and Native elder. She dedicated much of her life to Tlingit cultural education. Davis died on Wednesday, January 1, in Sitka. She was 70 years old.

Davis moved to Sitka at the age of 4, after being adopted by her Tlingit parents Eddie and Mary Marshall. Her biological Inupiaq parents had passed away from tuberculosis. She was always very proud of her Inupiaq roots, but raised in a traditional Tlingit home.

Davis worked as a Tlingit language instructor at Sheldon Jackson College. She took great pride in teaching the Tlingit language, and dedicated over 35 years of her life to Tlingit cultural instruction. Through the Sitka Native Education Program she transcribed many songs for the Gajaa Heen Dancers.

In addition to sharing and partaking in Tlingit culture, she enjoyed singing in the St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox church choir, picking berries, and picnicking on the islands around Sitka.

Cultural Services will be held at ANB Hall Sunday (1-5-14) at 6pm. Following the cultural memorial she will lie in state at the Coho House.

Church services will be held at St. Michael’s Cathedral Monday (1-6-14) at noon. A reception will follow at ANB hall.

KCAW News will follow-up with a story next week that will take a more in-depth look at Davis’s contribution to cultural revitalization in Sitka.


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