NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on case that revolutionized education system in rural Alaska

NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on case that revolutionized education system in rural Alaska

Posted By:
Kathy Dye
Kathy Dye
Published On: December 22nd, 2020

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Event free, open to the public

Nov. 18, 2019


Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a lecture this week on a case that revolutionized the way Alaska Native children are educated in rural areas of the state.

The lecture, The Molly Hootch Case: Rejection of Mandatory Boarding Schools in Favor of Local Secondary Schools, will be given by Bruce Twomley, an attorney who served as co-counsel on the case representing the plaintiff.

The case, officially titled Tobeluk v. Lind, is popularly known by its original named plaintiff, Molly Hootch. The case was a class action on behalf of 2,667 Alaska Native secondary school age children seeking the opportunity to reject boarding schools and to attend secondary school in their home communities.

By consent decree with the state, Alaska Native children in 126 villages became entitled to attend secondary school in their home villages, and the state became obligated to expend more than $158 million for the construction of local secondary school facilities and to afford the children and their families a say in their new local high school programs.

Recently, an Alaska state legislator startled Twomley with the comment that insensitivity in current political leadership may require revisiting principles that gave rise to the Hootch case.

The lecture is scheduled from noon-1 pm, Thursday, Nov. 21, at Sealaska Heritage’s Walter Soboleff Building, 105 S. Seward St. in Juneau. The lecture will be videotaped and put online shortly after the talk.

This program is provided under the Preparing Indigenous Teachers and Administrators for Alaska Schools (PITAAS) program and funded by the Alaska Native Education Program.


Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.


CONTACT: Amy Fletcher, SHI Media and Publications Director, 907.586.9116,

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