Services Scheduled For Kenneth ‘Chief’ Nielsen


Kenneth Lee ‘‘Chief’’ Nielsen Sr.

Kenneth Lee Nielsen Sr., better known to many as “Chief,” passed on April 21, 2024, at the age of 72.
He will have cultural services, where he will lie in state at Kayaashka Hit, Coho House (314 Katlian Street) at 5 p.m. today. His funeral service will be held at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 30, at St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church, officiated by Father Herman Belt. A reception will be at the ANB Founders Hall following burial at the Russian Orthodox Cemetery.
Kenneth was born February 10, 1952, in Sheet’ka, the third child of Albert Nielsen Sr. and Ethel (Joseph) Makinen. He died at SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. 
Kenneth’s Lingit name was Naashuhaayi. He was L’uknax.ádi (Raven/Coho) from L’ook Hit. He was baptized in St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church. His paternal grandparents were Peter and Dora Nielsen and maternal grandparents were Charlie and Annie Joseph.
Kenneth attended Sitka public schools. Although he didn’t finish high school, his family and many fellow fisherman friends felt he was bar none when it came to fishing. Some fisherman friends have incredible stories of him during his fishing days. One of his fishing captains said Chief could navigate boats through thick fog where there was zero visibility. He also saved sets single handedly that could have cost boats a great loss of income had Chief not been there to be quick on his feet.
Some of the boats Chief fished on were the Alice H, Claudia H, Myra, Icy Queen, Sonar, Mermaid and Haida Lady. Chief and his brothers got their love of the waters from their father, Albert Nielsen, who taught them all of their fishing skills. He also did stevedoring and drove taxi for many years with Island Taxi.
Kenneth was a quiet man, like his brother Slimbo. He started speaking at L’uknax.adi cultural events when called on by leader L’eiw tu eesh, Uncle Herman Davis. He was instructed by his mother, Daasdiyaa, that he would need to step up and speak after losing brother Yeetaaw.aat Phil Nielsen. Kenneth took this seriously and proudly stepped up to speak at many cultural events. 
Chief’s family and friends will miss him, especially his Bumbee son, Kenneth “K.L.” Nielsen Jr. His friends enjoyed gathering on Mondays to watch WWF wrestling which he also shared with his brothers Jeff and Slimbo. The family enjoyed spending time together during the holidays and birthdays. The Nielsen brothers and K.L. were amazing cooks.
“Chief is now with our father, Albert Nielsen Sr., our mother Ethel Makinen and brothers Albert Jr., Thomas-Slimbo and Phillip.
He is survived by his son, whom he loved so very much, Kenneth K.L. Nielsen Jr.; brother Jeffrey Nielsen; sister Lillian Nielsen Young; and his grandchildren, whom he loved and adored so very much, Micheal Trenton Nielsen, Ryan Ashlynn Nielsen, Trinity LeighAnn Nielsen and Alexis Lilliana Nielsen.
He was predeceased by his father Albert Carl Nielsen Sr., mother, Ethel Makinen, brothers Thomas, Phillip and Albert Nielsen.
Pallbearers will be K.L. Nielsen, Kyle Young, Leonty Williams, Ernie Karras, Henry Johnson and Ray Kitka. 
Honorary pallbearers are Ron James, Dori Biggs, Doug Bartels and Clyde Bartels.
Correspondence may be sent to Lillian Young, 503 DeGroff Street, Sitka, AK 99835.

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July 2004
Photo caption: Junior League All Stars will compete in a tournament in Wrangell. From left are Bryn Calhoun, Chris Scott, Sean O’Neill, Ross Venneberg, Caleb McGraw, Richard Carlos, Jacob Houston, Coby McCarty, Bryan Lovett and Daniel Erickson.


July 1974

Photo caption: Volunteers leave the Yaw Building Library with loads of books being transferred to the new Orin and Betty Stratton Library on the Sheldon Jackson campus. SJC librarian Evelyn Bonner expressed appreciation to the community for the help.


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