About Chief Ezi

" Dena'ina "
We are The Original People

  Chief William Ezi, (1899-1971) my grandfather, son of SimeoChief William (Walking Bill) Ezin,  was also known as "Walking Bill" and "Billy Goat" Ezi.  He preserved the rights of his people by filing Indian land claim documents with the U.S. government.

   Although born in Alaska, like many generations before him, he was not a U.S. citizen until 1924 when an act of Congress granted citizenship to all American Indians.  Grandpa  witnessed the great westernization of Alaska, including the beginning of classroom style education and an ever rising squatter mentality.  Eventually, numerous claims  resulted in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA).

   Many thanks go to the moral minded Congress and countless supporters who chose to correct a great wrong imposed upon Alaska's original citizens.  Today, Alaska Native Corporations (stemming from ANCSA) as well as some 226 federally recognized Tribal Governments ~ strive to return dignity, healing, and wealth back to the people.

   One day, history books will  be correct.  Thank you, Grandpa for your many visits while I was growing up and for your selfless vision to restore our heritage.

                  Maria D.L. Coleman

Chief (Simeon) Ezi of the

Once Powerful Eklutnas

Is Given Colorful Adieu 

Anchorage Times 2/24/1935

Covered in a beautiful fringed and highly colored blanket, and with another warm blanket beside him, and wearing a strikingly designed, new, pair of mukluks, and attired in a new suit of clothes and other garnishments, Chief Ezi, for many years the reChief Simeon Ezi and Familyspected idol of the once powerful tribe of Eklutnas, was laid to rest in the Anchorage Cemetery.


  Mourned by scores of his people who were present, and also honored by a number of white friends, the old  Chieftan was lowered into the grave as men, women and children of his tribe chanted in Russian and as the burial ritual was recited in Russian by Mrs. Billy Austin.


  The old Chief rests beneath a “TOP” house, largest of the kind seen in this region, made by his own sons and placed above the grave yesterday immediately after the service and burial.  The house stands 5 feet above the grave, is 6½ feet long and 3½ feet wide.  Over the house rises a large wooden cross, cut out of a log in one solid piece.


  The services continued for 2 hours and were characterized with numerous songs, chants and readings, all in Russian, according to the ritual of the Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in who’s faith they had been reared and trained from childhood.

 Thanks to Coleen Mielke  Source page



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