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Marie Nash’s father was a Japanese-American, born in Hawaii, who came to Alaska to fish and met her mother in the Aleut village of Ugashik. When World War II broke out, her father was sent to an internment camp and her mother insisted that she belonged with him. That is where Nash was born. After the war, the now larger family returned to the small Bristol Bay village where the family resumed commercial set-net fishing. Because there was no school in Ugashik, Nash was taught by her parents using Calvert Correspondence School methods until she was eight. Then she was sent hundreds of miles away to the public school in Haines where she lived at a children’s home known as Haines House. The residence also housed orphans, wards of the state and other borders from small villages without schools. The cost of transportation and housing had to be borne by her family because the head of her household was not Native, therefore the Bureau of Indian Affairs would not pay.
In high school Nash lived with a doctor’s family in Haines serving as their babysitter to help offset the cost of her food and lodging. She returned home every summer to help with the catching and drying of fish, berry picking and with the vegetable garden.
Nash’s distinguished career in politics started at the University of Alaska where she was a member of Young Republicans and served as a campus tour guide for Howard Pollock during his campaign for Congress. After graduating, she traveled to Washington, D.C., where she worked in his office. Moving to Juneau she worked briefly for the very politically connected law firm of Banfield, Boochever & Dugan. She served as executive secretary to Gov. Jay Hammond, staff assistant to boards and commissions, and deputy commissioner of Community and Regional Affairs. She served as a staff assistant to Sen. Ted Stevens in his Washington office and was his state director in the Alaska Office. She retired after 29 years in October 2004.
Many organizations and committees benefitted from Nash’s commitment to public service. She is currently the secretary of the Japan Relief Fund of Alaska Foundation (JPRF) and vice president of the Japanese American Citizens League – Alaska Chapter. She was Chairman and President of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation. and board member for BBNC, director and secretary on the board of the First Alaskans Institute, a member of Ugashik Traditional Village Council Elders, treasurer of the Anchor Presbyterian Church and YWCA board member. She was a member of Anchorage’s Downtown Rotary Club, where she chaired the military committee and served on the scholarship committee. Nash also served as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Program.
In 1967 Nash was selected the University of Alaska Fairbanks Student of the Year, and in 2008 she received the UAF Alumni Achievement Award for Community Support from the UAF Alumni Association. The American Red Cross, Alaska Southcentral Chapter presented Nash with a plaque in appreciation of her fundraising efforts when the Red Cross purchased what is now known as the Ann Stevens Red Cross Building. Certificates of appreciation were presented to Nash from the U.S. Army Alaska for help with America’s Arctic Warriors; the Anchorage School District and the Gifted Mentorship Program for sharing time and talent with mentorship students (one Dimond High student still keeps in periodic touch with her from New York City where she lives and works) and from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help with the severe winter storms and avalanches in Alaska.
Nash is known widely for her work as a public official (both in the state and federal governments) to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, Denali Commission, reparations related to Alaska Japanese-Americans and Alaska Native Americans incarcerated in relocation camps during WWII.
Nash serves as a role model for many of the former interns, both men and women, by becoming their friends, their second mothers and grandmothers to their own children, never forgetting a birthday or holiday wish. She shares with them her love of picking wild berries and making jam. “I have learned from Marie the secret in life is keeping in touch with your friends and sharing special moments together when you can,” Joy LeDoux Mendoza, former high school and college intern with U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens’ office.
Nash graduated in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Alaska. She is married and has one son.
Alaska’s Japanese Pioneers: Faces, Voices, Stories; copyrighted 1994 by Alaska’s Japanese Pioneers Research Project. Written by Ron Inouye, Carol Hoshiko and Kazumi Heshiki sponsored by the Alaska Historical Society ISBN 60 Pages
Sadie Neakok was considered the “mother” of the Inupiaq village of Barrow. Sadie Neakok was an optimist who was willing to stand up for what she believed. She was known as an educator, foster parent, subsistence rights advocate, and traditional seamstress. As Alaska’s first Native woman magistrate, Sadie Neakok walked a challenging path. She worked constantly to reconcile demands that often clashed. Sadie said that the best way to solve most of our problems is to be honest with other people, to care about them and to show love. The advice that she gave to women no matter where they lived was to get involved with their community and work to make it a better place.
When asked about what was the best part of her work, Sadie responded, “Gaining the respect of my people.”
Anne Newell spent 23 years as an Anchorage police officer and detective. At 27 she was the first female police officer at the Anchorage Police Department with powers of arrest.
When she arrived in September 1973 she applied to APD with an associate degree in Science in Law Enforcement and with some police experience. Newell had no idea how difficult the job would be and how much time would pass before she would be as an employed APD officer. At the end of the first interview, she said: “The response was that ‘we do not employ women to be police officers.” Newell filed her lawsuit with the State Human Rights Commission against APD and the City of Anchorage.
She sued to provide women the opportunity to be police officers at APD so they could show they could do the job. The suit took more than two years to settle; in the interim Newell became a volunteer auxiliary police officer, working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. At the same time she was working full time at East High school, and with her husband raised six children.
Her suit was settled in November, 1975, so she was able to attend a Police Academy and become a sworn officer. While on the police force she endured the rude, vulgar and shortsighted behavior from some of her male counterparts. Her success as a police officer made it easier for other women to become sworn officers.
In 1976 she started as a patrol officer and four years later was transferred to APD’s Public Relations Section, where she did the traffic report, “Air Watch,” with KIMO television and Wilber’s Aircraft. In 1983, she went to Detectives and Burglary Section and subsequently moved into the new statewide Exploitation/Crimes Against Children Unit, where she worked closely with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She devoted 12 years to the Crimes Against Children Unit until she retired after 20+ years of service. She received the Alaska Women in Police award of Achievement in 1996, for successfully arresting sex offenders who were prosecuted and imprisoned.
Newell was born in California, was raised in many states and lived with relatives, friends of her mother’s, and in foster homes – all of which provided her with empathy for children in abusive homes. A significant influence about family life was Newell’s Sicilian mother-in-law, Clementine Audino, who lived with Ann, her husband and her seven children for many summers while Newell and her husband worked. Many of their children were foster children and were the beneficiaries of Audino’s consistent care and affection.
Newell also served as a lobbyist for the Anchorage Peace Officers Association, and therefore, traveled to Juneau and Washington, D.C., discussing proposed legislation. After Newell retired, she was a candidate in 1996 for the Alaska House of Representatives, where she won her primary election, but lost in the general.
During her career she volunteered for political campaigns as well as for KAKM/KSKA, public television and radio stations. In 1992 she joined Zonta International, becoming a volunteer tutor/teacher at the Anchorage Literacy Project. She continues there to this day as a board member and an active volunteer tutor. She creates a fun environment for her literacy students, where laughter is often heard from her classroom.
Newell has worked at many jobs but being a police officer was the most rewarding. However, she was pleased to have a chapter she wrote be accepted for publication in the 4th volume of “Chicken Soup for the Soul”. She has also been a storyteller with the Storytellers’ Guild of Anchorage.
- 1994 Municipal Employee of the Year nomination, because of her efforts to arrest and prosecute sex offenders. Newell was nominated by citizens who went through Standing Together Against Rape counseling.
- 1996 Alaska Women in Police award of Achievement for successfully arresting sex offenders who were prosecuted and imprisoned.
- 2010 Golden Heart Volunteer Service Award, Outstanding Community Service
- Volunteerism in Alaska
- KAKM/ KSKA, 25years
- Political Campaigns
- Kindergarten Classroom w/ Kelly Carpenter nine years
- HOBY Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation, 1984-1994
- Z-Club (Zonta), 1992-1995
- Basically Bach Board, three years
- Anchorage Literacy Project 1993-2006, 2009-2013 tutor/teacher, board
- Anchorage Conflict Resolution Board, three years
- Anchorage Soil and Water Conservation District Board and citizen member 2003-2005
- Alaska Peace Officer Assn. Life member
- Toastmistress International (International Training in Communications) Life member
- Bartlett Democratic Club member many years
- Alaska Women’s Political Caucus member many years
- Zonta International Club of Anchorage 20 years
- Anchorage Genealogical Society
- Another first: First female officer to retire from APD with 20+ years of service.
Helen was raised in Pennsylvania, received a BA degree from Brown University (Pembroke College) in 1957 and a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in 1985. Helen first visited Alaska in the summer of 1957 for a summer job at the Fairbanks Girl Scout camp and moved permanently to Alaska in 1959, homesteading in the far reaches of Eagle River. She has been a significant player over the past fifty years in shaping Alaska. Helen’s contributions have been many and varied, as a community activist, professional planner, author and conservationist.
In 1970, she organized a successful state-wide grassroots movement to reform Alaska’s abortion law, making Alaska the third state in the country (and three years before Roe v. Wade) to permit a woman to choose abortion in consultation with her doctor. In 1971 Helen helped establish the Alaska Center for the Environment and served as volunteer staff and as a board member for nine years. As a professional planner at the Department of Natural Resources from 1976-1994, Helen developed procedures for state land selections and land use planning processes that attempt to balance development and conservation with genuine public input. At the Juneau women’s conference in 1996, Helen initiated the discussion that led to the formation of the Alaska Women’s Network. She has served as a trustee of the Alaska Conservation Foundation for thirteen years, including chair in 2007 and currently serves today. From 1996-2003, Helen chaired the Governor’s TRAAK Board which led to better land and trail management throughout the state. On the municipal level, she served for six years on the Parks and Recreation Commission and was involved in any number of conservation and recreational issues surrounding parks in Anchorage. In 1983, as a community activist and conservationist, Helen started advocating for a park in Midtown. It is due to her persistence and committed leadership over the next twenty-five years that the Cuddy Family Midtown Park became a reality and officially opened in August 2008. She currently serves on the boards of Common Ground and Alaska Geographic.
Helen is undoubtedly best known to tourists and Alaskans alike as the co-author of the pioneering hiking book 55 Ways to the Wilderness in Southcentral Alaska. This “bible” has enabled generations of Alaskans and visitors to experience the wonders of the natural world in Alaska. Initially published in 1972 and now in its fifth edition, this work has set the standard for excellence and accuracy in Alaska hiking guides.
Helen has received numerous awards over the years in recognition of her many accomplishments. She has been honored by the Governor, Legislature, the Department of Natural Resources, Mayor, Municipality of Anchorage, as a YWCA Woman of Achievement and is an honorary lifetime member of the Mountaineering Club of Alaska.
Helen is a leader with ideas, who skillfully chairs meetings, works hard, and gets people working together. Her commitment to founding and then doing the hard work of our environmental, park and community organizations has made Alaska’s lands, trails and communities all better places.
Katherine was a teacher and a bank teller before she served as one of the original Constitutional Convention Delegates. Katherine served as the first Regional Election Supervisor for the Southeast, the United States Collector of Customs from 1951-1953, and the Juneau Postmaster from 1964-1971.