Metlakatla Indian Community in Alaska

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Metlakatla Harbor in Metlakatla, AK

Metlakatla Harbor in Metlakatla, AK
Metlakatla Photo (c) Linda Garrison

Self-Governing Native Community Near Ketchikan, Alaska

The Metlakatla Indian Community is the only native reservation in Alaska. Metlakatla is located on Annette Island in the Alexander Archipelago in Southeast Alaska, 15 miles south of Ketchikan. Metlakatla was once supported by its timber and fishing industries, but today survives primarily on grants from the U.S. government. The community must continually look for new economic resources like tourism and native art work in order to become more self-sufficient.

We visited Metlakatla for a couple of hours from the small Cruise West ship the Spirit of Yorktown on an Alaska Inside Passage cruise. Our guide told us much about the Tsimshian Indian culture as we rode around the small town, and we all enjoyed the native songs and dances performed by members of the community. The songs and dances reflected tribal themes of the four Tsimshian tribes of Metlakatla -- the Eagle, or Lachsgeek; the Raven, or Gunhada; the Wolf, or Lachgeebuu; and the Killer Whale, or Gisbuutwada.

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Fish Trap in Metlakatla, AK

Fish Trap in Metlakatla, AK
Metlakatla Photo (c) Linda Garrison

This traditional fish trap was used by the Metlakatla natives to catch fish in the past.

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Metlakatla Indian Long House

Metlakatla Indian Long House
Metlakatla Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Native Dancer in Metlakatla, Alaska

Native Dancer in Metlakatla, Alaska
Metlakatla Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Native Children Perform in Traditional Indian Dances in Metlakatla, AK

Native Children Perform in Traditional Indian Dances in Metlakatla, AK
Metlakatla Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Native Indian Dancers in Metlakatla, Alaska

Native Indian Dancers in Metlakatla, Alaska
Metlakatla Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Native Dancer in Metlakatla, Alaska

Native Dancer in Metlakatla, Alaska
Metlakatla Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Native Indian Dancers in Metlakatla, Alaska

Native Indian Dancers in Metlakatla, Alaska
Metlakatla Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Metlakatla Totem Pole in Metlakatla, AK

Metlakatla Totem Pole in Metlakatla, AK
Metlakatla Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Metlakatla Totem Pole in Metlakatla, AK

Metlakatla Totem Pole in Metlakatla, AK
Metlakatla Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Totem Pole in Metlakatla, AK

Totem Pole in Metlakatla, AK
Metlakatla Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Alaskan Totem Pole in Metlakatla, Alaska

Alaskan Totem Pole in Metlakatla, Alaska
Metlakatla Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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