Elizabeth Peratrovich Day

An important day in the calendar of many Alaskans around the world, Elizabeth Peratrovich Day is celebrated on February 16th. Elizabeth Peratrovich was a woman who fought for equal rights in Alaska, and although it is not a public holiday, it is rightly acknowledged by many. Let’s take a closer look at why.

What Is Elizabeth Peratrovich Day?

Born on July 4th, 1911, in Petersburg, Alaska, Elizabeth Peratrovich was an Alaskan Native. She was of the Lukaax.ádi clan of the Tlingit people of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. She was adopted and took the name Elizabeth Wanamaker. Peratrovich would be her married name after she became betrothed to her husband, Roy. The two of them spent many years battling discrimination against Native Alaskans.

Her efforts are often praised as being integral to changing the laws and minds of people, so the Anti-Discrimination Act was passed in 1945. This was after many years of lobbying for support and tireless campaigning. Considered by many to be the face of civil rights in Alaska, her humanitarian work only stopped upon her death in 1958.

Her legacy remains, and she is remembered as a courageous woman who stood up to those who continued to treat Native Alaskans unfairly. Native Alaskans were discriminated against in various ways, including restrictions on where they could eat, live, and the medical care they could receive, among other atrocities.

Because of the efforts of Elizabeth Peratrovich and other like-minded campaigners, we acknowledge Elizabeth Peratrovich Day on February 16th. It was in 1988 that the Alaskan Legislature declared this as Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, the day that the Anti-Discrimination Act was signed in 1945. It is not a locally observed holiday and one that deserves more attention than it gets.

How To Observe Elizabeth Peratrovich Day

One of the best ways to acknowledge the day is to delve deeper into the life of Elizabeth Peratrovich. Opening our eyes can sometimes reveal things we would prefer to turn our heads away from, but not Elizabeth. Although it may be geographically impossible to visit some of the landmarks dedicated to her on this day, it can be enlightening to find out more about them.

She had buildings and monuments named in her honor, parks named after her, and even a theater in Ketchikan’s Southeast Alaskan Discovery Center. We always like to encourage people to use social media to spread the word about the days of the year. For this day, use #ElizabethPeratrovichDay and see how others are choosing to observe it. Why not spread the word yourself, maybe share an article you find?

The day honors all Alaskans who have fought against discrimination, so it can be a sobering yet educational time to delve deeper into the struggle that many endured for so long. Many people have stood up in the name of something good, but for Alaska, Elizabeth Peratrovich is an example of someone who represented them and tried to make a positive change for others. This is why on February 16th, people observe Elizabeth Peratrovich Day.

Where is it celebrated?
United States (Local observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
February 16 Friday
Next year (2025)
February 16 Sunday
Last year (2023)
February 16 Thursday