Be of Brave Heart – Companionship, Respite, & Education
With our volunteers and community partners, we provide compassionate care, companionship, respite, and education to those facing illness, isolation, end of life, and grief.
The History & Meaning of Our Name:
Brave Heart Volunteers was founded in 2001, as Sitka’s Faith In Action. SFIA Board member and Native Elder, Henry Moy, believed a foundational step in bridging the Native community and SFIA was to request a traditional Tlingit name from Sitka Tribe of Alaska Elders. After a unique gathering between the Elders and SFIA representatives, Elder Jessie Johnnie had the inspiration for the name Yee gu.aa yáx x’wán, a powerful Tlingit phrase which roughly translates into English as Be of Brave Heart.
Yee gu.aa yáx x’wán are the parting words of encouragement to one who is facing a challenge, like a warrior going into battle. Close family members also use the phrase as a prayerlike offering of solace to a loved one at the end of life, who in turn, repeats it to comfort those being left behind. It is also a phrase of condolence and support, and it emphasizes the profound connections between family and friends who weather life’s trials together, including illness, caregiving, and death. It is often best experienced through reflection and silence.