PUBLISHED: 4:17 PM on Wednesday, February 7, 2007
40-day party to be held to honor Angoon leader

Photo courtesy of Peter Metcalfe
On Friday evening, Feb. 9, the people of Angoon will hold a 40-Day Party and attempt to quench their grief at the loss of a community leader, Peter Jack Sr., who passed away Jan. 3 at the age of 79.

The Forty-Day Party, a Tlingit ceremonial event, is said to bring to an end the period of crying.

According to Tlingit tradition, crying is "like rain in the next world," which if not brought to an end brings discomfort to the deceased.

Jennie Jim, Peter Jack's sister, has difficulty containing her grief, and will find great comfort in having her family, friends and neighbors attend the 40-Day Party. She said it will be an opportunity for the family to express their gratitude.

"A lot of people helped me. We want to thank all the people who made donations and kept us in their prayers."

The tears flow easily as Jennie talks about their early family life, one filled with the grief of losing their mother when Peter, the youngest of seven Jack children, was only 9.

"I used to take care of Pete, when he was small," says Jennie, who recalled a family life that included working at the Tyee Cannery of south Admiralty in summers, and fish camp in the fall when the family would make dry fish, and harvest fish, deer and seal. "We put up a lot of stuff for winter," she recalls.

Peter Jack was buried on Sunday, Jan. 7, next to his son-in-law Leroy Martin and grandson Frederick Martin at a small cemetery near the Angoon ferry terminal.

The Martins died in a boat accident near Angoon while returning from halibut fishing in March 2005.

The 40-Day Party will commence at 5 Friday night in the Angoon ANB Hall.