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The group started out small. There were many Alaska Native in California for schooling / training in the 1960’s. Mary & Willard Jones (Ketchikan) would meet other Alaska Natives for picnics at beaches or parks. Fred Williams (Klawock), Lonnie Thomas (Craig), Richard & Pat Brown (Ketchikan), Aaron Issacs (Klawock), Marie Bonifant (Juneau), L.(Buzz) Seevers and their families would meet at least once a month. There were other families too ….
This group of people heard that things were happening with Tlingit & Haida in Juneau but had no contact. They heard that Ted Denny was affiliated with Tlingit & Haida but lived in Seattle. The group decided to raise money for a round trip ticket to bring Mr. Denny to Oakland so he could meet with the group, he was very helpful and also made available the Seattle by laws at no expense to the organization, then called “Tlingit & Haida Club California Chapter.” I believe that was about 1964 or 1965.
Following Seattles by laws they elected L.(Buzz) Seevers president, Lonnnie Thomas vice president, Marie Bonifant secretary-treasurer, and Lee Lutsch recording secretary. Marie Bonifant and Norman Clark were elected as delegates and L.(Buzz) Seevers as alternate. At that time the delegates had to pay all their own expenses.
Ted Denny was the president for the Seattle Tlingit & Haida at that time. Seattle was organizated in the 1950’s. Ted Denny was elected as Central Council President and served one term 1966 & 1967.