An illustration of Alaska
Native civil rights leader Elizabeth Peratrovich created by
Tlingit artist Michaela Goade of Sitka is the featured Google
Doodle on Wednesday, December 30. (Screengrab)
Alaskans may recognize a familiar face on Google's homepage Wednesday:
civil rights activist Elizabeth Peratrovich.
The illustration was created by Tlingit artist Michaela Goade of
Sitka, who says Google reached out in August to see if she was interested
in collaborating on a Peratrovich design. Peratrovich was an instrumental
player in passing the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945 the
first law of its kind to be passed by a U.S. state or territory
in the 20th century.
"It's been really heartwarming, so much local support and excitement
in our smaller Southeast Alaska community where her name is a household
name," Goade said. "We don't always get a lot of attention in the
bigger, national way, so I think having that representation
geographic wise and Indigenous representation is really powerful
for lots of people."
Google temporarily changes its homepage logo to celebrate holidays,
historical figures and events. The Google Doodle features Peratrovich
speaking into a microphone at a podium with a raven behind her,
representing her Lukaax_.ádi clan a Raven moiety.
Waves and forests were incorporated into the doodle to honor Tlingit
Peratrovich and her husband, Roy, were both Tlingit and experienced
discrimination after moving to Juneau in 1941. They were unable
to buy a home due to bigotry, during a time when white settlers
in Alaska often discriminated against Indigenous people. On this
day 79 years ago, the couple came across a door sign in the capital
that read "No Natives Allowed." The Peratroviches soon afterward
wrote a letter to Alaska's territorial governor, calling segregation
The couple worked with others to draft an anti-discrimination bill
that was introduced in 1941 but eventually did not pass. Four years
later, a second anti-discrimination bill was brought to the Alaska
Senate floor, where Peratrovich delivered a speech calling for the
equal treatment of Indigenous peoples.
"I would not have expected that I, who am barely out of savagery,
would have to remind gentlemen with 5,000 years of recorded civilization
behind them of our Bill of Rights," Peratrovich said in her speech.
The Alaskan Territorial Legislature passed the anti-discrimination
bill, which was signed into law on Feb. 16, 1945.
"I've gotten really kind, sweet messages from people saying they
are really proud to be Tlingit or proud to be Native especially
today and then they were touched by the illustration and
seeing Elizabeth Peratrovich's name celebrated," Goade said.
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Feb. 16 was declared Elizabeth Peratrovich Day by the Alaska Legislature
in 1988 "for her courageous, unceasing efforts to eliminate discrimination
and bring about equal rights in Alaska." Just this year, the United
States Mint released a $1 gold coin in Peratrovich's honor.
"I underestimated the level of excitement from a lot of Alaska,
I think, so that's been really fun to see," Goade said.
The doodle was seen on Google's homepage until 8 p.m. Alaska time
(Dec. 30, 2020).