Ellen Hope Hays

Ellen Hope Hays, who made history when she was named superintendent of Sitka National Historical Park, passed away peacefully on Oct. 8, 2013.  She was 85 years old.
Ellen was living at the Sitka Pioneers Home at the time of her death.  She had moved back to Sitka from Bainbridge Island, Wash., in January 2013.
Ellen was born Dec. 29, 1927, the seventh of 14 children born to Andrew and Tillie Hope of Sitka.  She was a Tlingit of the Raven moiety, Kik’sadi Clan and Point House.  Her clan name was Kaa Katlin (Raven Looking Forward).  She was raised and lived much of her life in Alaska.
She married Roger Lang and they had one child, Karen Valorie Lang.  In 1978 she married Henry Hays, and they moved to Bainbridge Island, Wash., in 1994.
Ellen was a graduate of Sheldon Jackson School, and was awarded an honorary doctor of law degree from the University of Alaska in 1996.
Ellen spent her professional career with the National Park Service and on July 9, 1974, she became the first woman and the first Alaska Native to be appointed superintendent of a national park in the Pacific Northwest.
She also was the first woman to apply and be accepted as a member of the Alaska Native Brotherhood.  She was instrumental in the Brotherhood’s successful effort to operate the Visitor Center craft shop wing of Sitka National Historical Park, which eventually became known as the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center.
Throughout her life, Ellen promoted the values of art and the humanities.  She served on many boards and commissions that were dedicated to these causes, both in Alaska and Washington. 
Ellen forged many enduring friendships throughout her life.  She was a mentor, friend, and teacher to many.  She was passionate about her family, her heritage, the arts and education.  She believed one should always be learning.
Ellen is survived by her husband, Henry Hays, of Bainbridge Island, Wash.; daughter Karen Coleman of Sitka; granddaughter, Kendra Pountney (Michael) of Sitka; grandson Jerrick Fulkerson of Juneau; and great- grandson Robert Pountney of Sitka.
She is also survived by two brothers, Fred Hope (Margaret) of Sitka,  and Percy Hope of Juneau.  She also has numerous nieces and nephews, and is survived by her dearest friends Herb and Polly Didrickson of Sitka.
A memorial service will be held later in the Fall.  In lieu of flowers, please send remembrances of Ellen to her family (c/o Karen Coleman) at PO Box 92, Sitka, AK  99835.

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At a Glance

(updated 5-25-22)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 11:55 pm Wednesday, May 25.

New cases as of Wednesday: 1,911

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 251,425

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,252

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 3,776

Current Hospitalizations – 46

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "medium.'' Case statistics are as of Wednesday.

Cases in last 7 days – 25

Cumulative Sitka cases – 2,658

Hospitalizations (to date) – 32

Deceased (cumulative) – 6

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.





May 2002


From Sitka’s Past by Robert DeArmond: May 14, 1878 – The steamer California brought a cannery crew to Sitka for one of the first two salmon canneries in Alaska. The cannery, located at Starrigavan, operated for only two seasons and was abandoned.

May 1972

 The work of four Sitka artists will be represented in the Ketchikan Arts and Crafts Guild Traveling Show. The artists are Alice Bergdoll, Linda Larsen, Marilyn Nevers and Clint Miller.