Metlakatla Harbor in Metlakatla, AK
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.
Fish Trap in Metlakatla, AK
This traditional fish trap was used by the Metlakatla natives to catch fish in the past.