Elizabeth Peratrovich was featured in a Google Doodle, seen above, on Dec. 30, 2020. The Tlingit civil rights activist was illustrated by a Sitka-based Tlingit artist for the tech company. (Courtesy Image / Google)

Elizabeth Peratrovich was featured in a Google Doodle, seen above, on Dec. 30, 2020. The Tlingit civil rights activist was illustrated by a Sitka-based Tlingit artist for the tech company. (Courtesy Image / Google)

Google spotlights Tlingit civil rights icon with Doodle

Alaskans won’t need to Google her.

Tech giant Google brought Tlingit civil rights advocate Elizabeth Peratrovich to the attention of many Tuesday evening when they ran out a Doodle created by a Southeast artist featuring the iconic activist.

“I was excited to see it. I was surprised. It’s pretty awesome to see,” said Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson, president of Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, in a phone interview. “Elizabeth and her husband, Roy Peratrovich, are, as far as civil rights activism goes, decades ahead of the rest of the country.”

Peratrovich, born on July 4, 1911, is known for her role in helping pass one of the United States’ first antidiscrimination laws. The Doodle recognizes this day in 1941, when Peratrovich and her husband wrote a letter to the governor of Alaska to gain his support after seeing a sign reading ‘No Natives Allowed’ on an inn in Juneau. After a first anti-discrimination bill failed to pass in 1941, Peratrovich persevered, delivering a blistering speech before the Legislature in 1945.

[Legislative Council sets mask policy for upcoming session]

“For women, for our Native people, for people of color, she was so far ahead of everyone else. And such a class act. So eloquent, articulate,” Peterson said. “Her major speech was such a smackdown on those who classified us as savages.”

Elizabeth Peratrovich was featured in a Google doodle, seen above in an early draft, on Dec. 30, 2020. The Tlingit civil rights activist was illustrated by a Sitka-based Tlingit artist for the tech company. (Courtesy art / Google)

Elizabeth Peratrovich was featured in a Google doodle, seen above in an early draft, on Dec. 30, 2020. The Tlingit civil rights activist was illustrated by a Sitka-based Tlingit artist for the tech company. (Courtesy art / Google)

The drawing was created by Tlingit artist Michaela Goade, a Sitka-based illustrator of picture books. Goade was excited for the opportunity to raise awareness about Peratrovich, basing her illustration on Peratrovich delivering her famous speech before the Legislature, the artist told Google.

“It meant a lot to work on this project. Elizabeth Peratrovich often doesn’t receive the recognition she deserves, and her story is important, inspiring, and powerful,” Goade said. “To be able to portray this strong Tlingit woman — as a Tlingit artist myself — is a good feeling. It means a great deal to be able to represent our Nation in this way and uplift Elizabeth’s life and work.”

Peratrovich’s representation — and other Tlingit art and culture — is increasing in visibility. Peratrovich appeared on the gold $1 coin this year and Juneau artist recently created the first Tlingit-designed art to be featured in a stamp. This increased representation is coming with a groundswell of appreciation and acceptance of Alaska Native cultures and languages, Peterson said.

Elizabeth Peratrovich was featured in a Google doodle, seen above, on Dec. 30, 2020. The Tlingit civil rights activist was illustrated by a Sitka-based Tlingit artist for the tech company. (Courtesy art / Google)

Elizabeth Peratrovich was featured in a Google doodle, seen above, on Dec. 30, 2020. The Tlingit civil rights activist was illustrated by a Sitka-based Tlingit artist for the tech company. (Courtesy art / Google)

“This renaissance has been happening, I would say, for decades,” Peterson said. “This is not a new development. But I think it’s gaining traction.”

The Doodles are one of the Google search engine’s most visible features, rotating to reflect historical figures or current events. Other Doodles that have appeared on Dec. 30 include references to Korean poet Yun Dong-Jue, Saudi Arabian singer Etab and Russian poet Daniil Kharms, according to Google.

“It is my hope that this Doodle helps spread awareness of Elizabeth—who she was, where she came from, and the equality she fought so passionately for,” Goade said.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

Elizabeth Peratrovich was featured in a Google doodle, seen above in an early draft, on Dec. 30, 2020. The Tlingit civil rights activist was illustrated by a Sitka-based Tlingit artist for the tech company. (Courtesy art / Google)

Elizabeth Peratrovich was featured in a Google doodle, seen above in an early draft, on Dec. 30, 2020. The Tlingit civil rights activist was illustrated by a Sitka-based Tlingit artist for the tech company. (Courtesy art / Google)

More in News

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance for Friday, Jan. 22

The most recent state and local numbers.

A Coast Guard Station Juneau 45-foot Response Boat-Medium patrols Auke Bay during an exercise in 2018. A response boat similar to the one in the photo was struck by a laser near Ketchikan on Saturday, Jan. 17, prompting an investigation into the crime. (Lt. Brian Dykens / U.S. Coast Guard)
Coast Guard wants information after laser pointed at boat

“Laser strikes jeopardize the safety of our boat crews…”

The valleys of Jim River and Prospect Creek in northern Alaska, where an official thermometer registered Alaska’s all-time low of minus 80 degrees F on Jan. 23, 1971. Photo by Ned Rozell
Alaska’s all-time cold record turns 50

The camp was there to house workers building the trans-Alaska pipeline

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance for Thursday, Jan. 21

The most recent state and local numbers.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy addresses the public during a virtual town hall on Sept. 15, 2020 in Alaska. ( Courtesy Photo / Austin McDaniel, Office of the Governor)
Dunleavy pitches dividend change amid legislative splits

No clear direction has emerged from lawmakers.

Joar Leifseth Ulsom, right, wearing a bib with ExxonMobil lettering on it, congratulates Peter Kaiser on his win in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome, Alaska. The world’s most famous sled dog race has lost another major sponsor as the Iditarod prepares for a scaled-back version of this year’s race because of the pandemic, officials said Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. ExxonMobil confirmed to The Associated Press that the oil giant will drop its sponsorship of the race. (Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News)
ExxonMobil becomes latest sponsor to sever Iditarod ties

The world’s most famous sled dog race has lost another major sponsor.

Has it always been a police car? (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Friday, Jan. 22, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

This electron microscope image made available and color-enhanced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Md., shows Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, orange, isolated from a patient.	(THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/National Institutes of Health)
State reports 24 COVID-19 deaths

Only 1 of the deaths happened recently, according to the state.

Most Read