Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Alaska Native leader and former Alaska State lawmaker, Albert Kookesh, has passed away.
Kookesh passed at his home in Angoon this morning following an illness, surrounded by family, his children, and grandchildren.
Sealaska Heritage Institute president Rosita Worl spoke to Kookesh's passing. "Today, Alaska lost a great leader with the passing of Albert Kookesh. As we say, a great tree has fallen, and our homeland is reverberating from this loss," she said. "He was like a godfather to countless people, serving and helping them in many ways. His accomplishments are many. But perhaps most significant was his leadership in his home village of Angoon, and raising children and grandchildren who are following in his footsteps. We are suffering with this great loss. Alaska has lost a great leader."
“Today, we mourn the loss of a colleague, a friend, a champion of Alaska Native people,” said Sealaska Chair Joe Nelson in a release.
Kookesh was Tlingit, a member of the Eagle/Teikweidí Brown Bear clan.