Documenting the 'Molly Hootch' Case

Contents | Court Cases and Related Documentation | Articles & Speeches | Federal Documents | Newspaper Stories | Alaska Court System | Common Legal Terms | History of Education Index


ISER obtained a small grant from the Alaska Humanities Forum to update the Alaskool Web site with materials on the 1972 Hootch v. Alaska State Operated School System lawsuit, and the 1976 Tobeluk v. Lind consent decree. The Hootch case and the resulting Tobeluk consent decree changed Alaska's education system dramatically, ending the state's unequal system in which Native children who lived in rural villages and wanted a secondary education were sent to boarding schools or boarding home programs, while non-Native children attended school in their home communities. The implementation of the Tobeluk consent decree led to the opening of 105 secondary schools in rural Alaska, providing Alaska Native children throughout the state the option to attend high school in their own home communities.

When asked about the significance of this case Paul Ongtooguk stated in so many words that "This case closed the chapter on segregated schools in Alaska, by effectively closing down the supply of students to Native bording schools. It also forced the State of Alaska to take responsibility for Native education in grades K-12, a responsibilty that they had been a reluctant partner in with the Beaureau of Indian Affairs. (9-17-2004 while having coffee with Jim Kerr)


We have included content from the original legal files of Chris Cooke, the attorney who filed the initial Hootch lawsuit as well as antecedent cases, and from Stephen Cotton, the attorney who negotiated and oversaw implementation of the Tobeluk consent decree.

COURT CASES Click here to go the page that lists these cases.


July 13, 1970 Memo by Chris Cooke to John Van Winkle on model complaint; types of challenges possible (PDF)

"Indian Schools & Community Control," Daniel M. Rosenfelt, Stanford Law Review, April, 1973. (PDF)

Alaska's "Molly Hootch" Case: High Schools and the Village Voice, Stephen E. Cotton, Attorney, Andover, Massachusetts, Education Research Quarterly, 1984. (Text Document --

Click here to go the papers listed above.


Indian Education, Hearings, Part 1, 1969 (pp. 253-212, 298-323, 376-381).

The Education of American Indians. A Compendium of Federal Boarding School Evaluations. November, 1969 (pp. 703-748).

Indian Education, A National Tragedy - A National Challenge: A Resolution Authorizing an Investigation into the Problems
of Education for American Indians.
(1969). (PDF)

A Nation at Risk (link to PDF)

Click here to go to the documents on federal documents.


Legacy of Molly Hootch series, beginning September 13, 1980, Anchorage Daily News

Other ADN articles:
"$100 Million Construction Appropriation: Hammond Signs School Bill," June 10, 1978
"Village Schools Almost Complete 11 Years After Suit," by Sheila Toomey, June 3, 1983
"Who Changed Our Lives: Ranking the History Makers," January 3, 1999, by Geoff Kennedy and Joel Southern
"History Makers Who Changed Alaskan's Lives," June 27, 1999

"On the Edge: Do Bush Schools Measure Up?" Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, January 21-26, 1996, W. Hower and K. Kelly

Click here to go to newspaper articles.


Nelson Act —legislation creating racially segregated schools in Alaska
(text document--

Law and Alaska Native Education: The Influence of Federal and State Legislation upon Education of Rural Alaska Natives
by David H. Getches, September, 1977
(text document--

UAF student opposed to Hootch case
THE MOLLY HOOTCH DECISION by an Anonymous student in UAF publication called THEATA, Volume 12, 1987
(text document --

Alaska's Small Rural High Schools: Are They Working? Judith S. Kleinfeld, G. Williamson McDiarmid, and David Hagstrom, October, 1985

(text document--

Alaska's Urban Boarding Home Program: Interpersonal Relationships Between Indian and Eskimo Secondary Students and
Their Boarding Home Parents
, Judith S. Kleinfeld, 1972
(text document--

Iñupiaq Education, Eben Hopson, Mayor, North Slope Borough, Barrow, Alaska, 1977
(text document--

Link to index of Alaska Native Education documents on Alaskool