The Metlakatla Tsimshian Tribe

Metlakatla, Alaska is a community of Tsimshian people who followed a missionary of the Anglican Church of England, Mr. William Duncan to a new home in the United States of America from their previous home in British Columbia, Canada. The United States Congress granted recognition to the new community in 1891 by creating the Annette Islands Reserve, a federal Indian reservation. Today it is the only reservation in the State of Alaska. The community has prospered due to an abundance of natural and human resources. Its people exhibit a great variety and diversity of skills in numerous fields, from native art in the ancient style to advanced computer skills necessary for today's communication requirements.

Although the majority of its population is Tsimshian, Metlakatla also is home to may individuals with diverse tribal affiliations such as Tlingit, Haida, Aleut, Yupik and other Alaska Native peoples. These others are allowed to become members of the Metlakatla Indian Community by virtue of a clause in Metlakatla's charter that specifically allows such membership. In the ancient Tsimshian culture there were several individual tribes, each with its own chief and governing council. Within the tribes there exists a closer society--that of the four major clans. The clans are the Eagle, or Lachsgeek; the Raven, or Gunhada; the Wolf, or Lachgeebuu; and the Killer Whale, or Gisbuutwada.

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