Tlingit Master Artist Mabel Pike Passes Away

Tlingit Master Artist and Elder Mabel Pike has passed away. Pike was born in Douglas and spent her early years in Juneau. She and her husband Joe lived in Tanana and Bethel in the 1960s before moving to Anchorage, where she soon became active in Native community activities. Her son Jan See says she’s perhaps best known for her beadwork and as a teacher.

Pike also taught and lectured at the University of Alaska Anchorage, the Anchorage Museum, and in communities such as Chenega, Kodiak, Edna Bay and Togiak. She was a founding member of the nonprofit TAHETA Arts and Cultural group based in downtown Anchorage. See says she also founded an arts and crafts show that has become a Fur Rendezvous institution.

In 1987, the Alaska Federation of Natives adopted a resolution calling for a community gathering center in Anchorage… which led to a multi-year effort to raise the money needed to build the Alaska Native Heritage Center. See says his mother was involved in the early planning, teaching and demonstrating beading after it opened, and as a long-time board member.

Pike was active in other organizations as well, including the Anchorage Tribes of Tlingit and Haida Indians of Alaska. Mabel Pike died Monday afternoon of complications related to a fall. She was 92. Her family plans to announce services soon.

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Joaqlin Estus is a reporter at KNBA in Anchorage.

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