Friday, 3 May 2013
Ibrahim Jaffar introducing Angoon
The lone settlement on Admiralty Island is Angoon, a predominantly Tlingit community. Tlingit tribes occupied the site for centuries, but the original village was wiped out in 1882 when the US Navy, sailing out of Sitka, bombarded the indigenous people after they staged an uprising against a local whaling company. In 1973 Angoon won a $90, 000 out-of-court settlement from the Federal government for the bombardment.
Today the economy is a mixture of commercial fishing and subsistence, and in town the strong indigenous heritage is evident in the painted fronts of the 16 tribal community houses. The old lifestyle is still apparent in this remote community, and time in Angoon can be spent observing and gaining some understanding of the Tlingit culture. Tourism seems to be tolerated only because the village is a port of call for the ferry. It's also a dry community, so you'll find no bars.
The village is perched on a strip of land between Chatham Strait on Admiralty Island's west coast and turbulent Kootznahoo Inlet, which leads into the national monument's interior. The community serves as the departure point for many kayak and canoe trips into the heart of the monument, including the 32-mile Cross Admiralty canoe.