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Brian Arthur Coburn, died May 3, 2017, in Portland, Oregon.
He was born Aug. 22, 1946, in Seattle.
His Haida name was Gitkun, and he carried the name of his maternal great-grandfather, Chinna Paddy Henry, his family writes. He was Taslaanaas (Sand Beach People) clan, Raven, Brown Bear.
In 1949, he moved to Kasaan with his parents, Julia and Perry Coburn, and older brother, Chris. At age 12, he began salmon trolling with his brother and father. They also resided in Hollis and Ketchikan, and he graduated from Ketchikan High School in 1964.
Mr. Coburn earned an Associate of Arts degree from Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon. He traveled across Europe and spent a winter in a Jewish Kibbutz (commune) collective farming, and then returned to the United States to complete a Bachelor of Arts double degree in psychology and English with a minor in math, at the University of Oregon. He went on to earn a master's degree in social work from Portland State University.
Over the years, Mr. Coburn owned and operated a salmon troller named the Dorothy II. When working his way through college, he spent summers on the Oregon coast salmon trolling and shrimp fishing. After receiving his master's degree in social work, he worked as a counselor for several Native tribes, including the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde. He also worked with youth struggling with substance addictions at the Chemawa Indian Center in Salem.
“Brian was also a talented photographer and held several shows in the Portland area,” his family writes.
He was enrolled in the Central Council of Tlingit Haida and Indian Tribes of Alaska. He was also a shareholder in Kasaan Village Corp. and Sealaska Corp.
“Brian had a beautiful smile and generous spirit,” his family writes.
Mr. Coburn was preceded in death by his brother, Christian; and father, Perry.
He is survived by his mother, Julia (Jones) Coburn; sisters, Della Coburn and Jeane (Chris) Breinig; former spouse, Patricia; daughters, Marcia and Rebecca; granddaughters, Camille and Evangeline; niece, Anna Lathen; nephews, Lee and Luke Breinig; and many cousins.
Donations may be made to Narcotics Anonymous, local foodbanks, or the Kasaan Haida Heritage Foundation.