Indian reservation organized under federal law
in the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 Department of Labor Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (met luh kat' luh); a.k.a. Annette Island Reserve
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Election, Recording, and Judicial Districts
- Senate District
- House District
- Judicial District
- Recording District
Facilities and Amenities
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Piped Water, Piped Sewar, Washeteria, Electric, Refuse Collectionm Landfill, Medical Center, Airport, Port/Dock, Cable TV, Police, Volunteer Fire/EMS/Seach and rescue, Library, Tribal Court, Tribal Juvenile Court and Tribal Appellate Court, Fish Hatchery, Cold Storage, Cannery, Town Hall, Boys and Girls Club, Senior Center, Transit, Tourisim, Economic Development, Gaming, Housing, Forest Products, Tabacco
Geography and Climate
- Metlakatla is located at Port Chester on the west coast of Annette Island, 15 miles south of Ketchikan. By air, it is 3.5 hours from Anchorage and 1.5 hours from Seattle.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
- Metlakatla is in the maritime climate zone with warm winters, cool summers, and an average annual precipitation of 115 inches (nearly 10 feet) and 61 inches of snowfall. Two-hundred inches of annual rainfall has been recorded. Summer temperatures range from 36 to 52 °F; winter temperatures range from 28 to 42 °F.
History and Culture
- Metlakatla means "saltwater channel passage" and was founded by a group of Canadian Tsimshians who migrated from Prince Rupert, British Columbia, in 1887, seeking religious freedom. They were led by Reverend William Duncan, a Scottish lay priest of the Anglican Church (Church of England), who had begun his missionary work with the Tsimshians at Fort Simpson, BC, in 1857. Rev. Duncan traveled to Washington, DC, around 1886 to personally request land from President Grover Cleveland for the Tsimshians. The island was selected by a local search committee, and by 1890 there were 823 residents. Congress declared Annette Island a federal Indian reservation in 1891. Residents built a church, school, sawmill, and cannery and constructed homes in an orderly grid pattern. Duncan continued to inspire and lead his followers until his death in 1918. In 1927, the community built a hydroelectric plant. During World War II, the U.S. Army constructed a large air base a few miles from town, which was later used for commercial amphibian flights to Ketchikan. The U.S. Coast Guard also maintained a base on the island until 1976. The Annette Island Reserve remains the only federal reservation for indigenous peoples in Alaska.
- It is a traditional Tsimshian community on the federal Annette Island Reserve, with an active economy and subsistence lifestyle. It is the only Indian reservation in Alaska. The community was not part of ANSCA. The 86,000 acre island reservation and surrounding 3,000 feet of coastal waters are locally-controlled and not subject to state jurisdiction. The community regulates commercial fishing in these waters and also operates its own tribal court system, including a tribal juvenile court and tribal appellate court. Salmon, halibut, cod, seaweed, clams, and waterfowl are important subsistence food sources.
- Indigenous Language
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Metlakatla Indian Community, Annette
- Metlakatla is accessible by air and water. The Annette Island Airport, located approximately six miles south of town, is owned and operated by the Community. The airport has two asphalt runways. Two seaplane bases are also available, with scheduled float plane service from Ketchikan. The state ferry serves Metlakatla from Ketchikan between spring and fall. In addition to the state ferry terminal, port facilities in Metlakatla include an oil company pier, a city pier, a packing company wharf, a barge terminal, a barge ramp, two marine way rail haul-outs, and public and privately owned small-craft facilities, including two small boat harbors.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection