Kongiganack Tribal Village Judge John Phillip Sr. Walks On

Honorable Judge John Phillip, Sr. Walks On, 6/24/2021

Honorable Judge John Phillip of the Traditional Village of Kongiganak died June 25, 2021 peacefully at home in his native village in Kongiganak, Alaska.

Judge Phillip began serving as one of three first judges in the small coastal village over 30 years ago. The Traditional Village of Kongiganak is a coastal village near the mouth of the Bering Sea and the Kukokwim River in Southwest Alaska.

Judge Phillip is believed to have been the oldest living tribal judge in the United States and served his community through peaceful and wise traditional love. Judge Phillip is also believed to have been the longest serving tribal judge in Alaska, having served the Kongiganak Tribal Court for 30+ years, oftentimes as a volunteer when the Kongiganak Tribal Court had no funding to pay judges.

His quiet passion for justice was delivered in his Yup’ik language, and when Judge Phillip spoke, his reverent respect for justice was felt whether he was translated or not. His wisdom will be truly missed in the village and throughout Alaska.

Judge John Phillip, Sr. was 95 years old.