03.27.1941/1964–This Day in Alaskan History


1941–Indian Reorganization Act constitution and bylaws are ratified for the Chilkat Indian Village (Klukwan). Klukwan is located on the north bank of the Chilkat River, about 22 miles north of Haines. Klukwan’s population is about 150 residents. The village is a traditional Tlingit village, well known for its Chiklat blankets and dance robes woven from mountain goat hair and cedar bark.

Klukwan is located on the bank of the Chilkat River, about 22 miles north of Haines, off the Haines Highway. It lies at approximately 59° 24′ N Latitude, 135° 53′ W Longitude (Sec. 33, T028S, R056E, Copper River Meridian). The community is located in the Haines Recording District. The area encompasses 2 sq. miles of land and 0 sq. miles of water.

In 1880, the U.S. Navy reported the name of the village as “Chilcat of Klukquan,” which is said to mean “the old town.” The Chilkat controlled the trails to trade with Interior Indians. At that time, the Chilkat numbered approximately 1,000 among five area villages. In 1881, the Willard mission and school was constructed in Haines. Four canneries were built in the area by the turn of the century. In the late 1890s, the Dalton Trail from Chilkat Inlet to Whitehorse offered an easier route for wagons and cattle to the Klondike gold fields. However, the Chilkoot Trail out of Skagway was used by most prospectors. By the early 1900s, Klukwan was the last remaining Chilkat village in the area.

The History of Klukwan

1964_great_alaska_earthquake tsu64anchorage

Tsunami, Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Volcanic Eruptions and other Natural and Man-Made Hazards and Disasters

1964–At 5:36 p.m., the Great Alaskan Earthquake strikes. Known as the “Good Friday Earthquake,” it registered upwards of 9.2 on the Richter scale and killed 131 people. The quake lasted approximately five minutes, and damage was estimated at more than five hundred million dollars. The tsunami that followed the quake caused great destruction in Alutiiq communities. Chenega, Kaguyak and Afognak were destroyed, and 23 people–about a third of the population–died in Chenega. Eleven people killed in the Kodiak area. Both Kodiak and Ouzinkie sustained severe damage. Old Harbor had to be substantially rebuilt, while residents of Afognak were relocated to a new village, Port Lions. Kaguyak villagers were moved to the existing community of Akhiok.


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