Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Sweet loved softball, family and native lifestyle

 

September 13, 2018

Christine Sweet

Life-long Klukwan resident Christine Sweet, 61, Choosèe, an eagle of the Thunderbird house, was remembered in a double Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS) and Klukwan Assembly of God service at the Klukwan School gym on Sep. 1. She was buried next to her mother, Esther Hotch, in the village cemetery. Sweet died August 26 at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage of complications from breast cancer treatment.

Husband Larry Sweet Sr. said she was primarily a homemaker who "took great pride in her family and culture." Though soft spoken, "she could speak her mind," and her strength and caring helped her family survive several hardships. The Sweets were married for 39 years and had seven children and sixteen grandchildren. They met when Larry came to Alaska to visit relatives and was recruited to play basketball for the Klukwan team, of which Chris was a big fan. The two were married on July 21, 1979, and settled in Klukwan.

"Chris loved sports," Larry said. She was a good softball player and played for the Six Pack Sam team and others, attended local basketball games and tournaments and proudly showed her support whether it was her husband, children, or one of her grandkids playing. She also cheered loudly for the Green Bay Packers on TV.

Sweet was a member of the Klukwan ANS, and attended many Grand Camps, as a delegate and while accompanying her husband when he was an ANB officer. At the 1983 Grand Camp she requested prayer for a healthy baby during a difficult pregnancy. She believed it worked, and named the baby Angelica Nadine Sweet, whose initials are ANS. The infant was granted a lifetime membership by the organization.

Christine "Dean Ann" Sweet was born November 18, 1956 in Juneau to Esther and Steven Hotch Sr. of Klukwan. She grew up in the village in a big family, attended the Klukwan BIA school until 8th grade, the Chemawa Indian School and Mt. Edgecumbe High School before graduating from Haines High in 1975.

Friend Kimberley Strong recalled hanging out with Sweet when they were carefree teenagers, "Singing songs, hitching down the highway into Haines. She was a lot of fun." As adults they joked about "our misspent youth," Strong said. Sweet had a good sense of humor, although she was shy enough that "if you didn't know her well, you didn't know that," Strong said.

She loved Native foods, and picking berries, gathering red ribbon seaweed, fry bread, and always made popcorn balls at Halloween. "She loved the subsistence lifestyle, especially gink [fermented fish]," her husband said.

In addition to Larry Sweet Sr., Chris leaves children Brenda Brew, Chun Williamson, Larry Sweet Jr., Alicia Case, Cheri Martin, Angelica Sweet, and Natasha Sweet; siblings Louise Smith, Dorothy Kraun, Debi Montgomery, Stoney Hotch, Donald Hotch Sr., Edward Hotch, and Danny Peters.

She was preceded in death by her parents, and siblings Steven Hotch Jr., Sam Hotch, Bill Peters, Walter Peters, Lawrence Peters, Frank Hotch, Ethel Aguilar, Esther Otton, Josephine Peters, and Baby Hotch.

There is an account for the Sweet family at the First National Bank in Haines.

 
 

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