President/CEO Louis A. Thompson passed away on January 8, 2014. Louis’ name is synonymous with Kavilco and he will be greatly missed.
Louis A. Thompson, President and CEO of Kavilco Incorporated, was born and raised in Kasaan, Alaska. He was given two Haida names: Xie?n Skinai, which comes from Daxién Skinai, “owner of a large bay,” and La?na Kíngel, “the chief that looks at his village.” Louie, as he was known to his family and friends, was born in 1936 to Agnes Rose Young and Louis Thompson.
When Kavilco was established by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1972, Louie was present as one of Kasaan’s representatives. When Kavilco’s Articles of Incorporation were signed in 1973, Louie signed his name along with Willard L. Jones, Robert I. Olsen, Rosemarie Young Trambitas and Robert R. Young. He served as interim Board President in 1972 and was elected President of Kavilco in 1973. He was hired as Field Operations Manager in 1975. He oversaw ITT Rayonier’s purchase of approximately 100 million board feet of timber in 1980; Kavilco’s commitment to improve conditions in Kasaan in the 1980s; he negotiated a lease with Alaska Power & Telephone to build a tower on top of Kasaan Mountain to bring wireless technology to Kasaan.
Kavilco remained especially concerned with the issues that impacted the protection of its Haida culture and heritage. Louie was present during the extensive survey of the Old Kasaan site in 1981 and its potential for restoration. Through his efforts, the most cherished symbol of Kasaan’s history, Chief Son-I-Hat’s Whale House and Totem Park was designated a National Historic Place in 2002, opening the door to grants and funding. He helped to write the National Park Service grant that Kavilco received towards the Whale House restoration.
Born and raised in Kasaan always brought back a lot of memories for Louie and he loved to share them. Louie consented to recordings in 2007 and recalled names, genealogies, places, and the colorful residents of Kasaan in its heyday. Few people can recall the history of this little town like Louie Thompson. For more on Louie click here.
Louie is survived by his wife Annette.
CHIEF SKÁWAAL'S GRAVE HOUSE