YAKUTAT BOROUGH

AKGenWeb
HISTORY

"The original settlers in the Yakutat area are believed to have been Eyak-speaking people from the Copper River area. Tlingits migrated into the area and assimilated the Eyaks before the arrival of Europeans in Alaska. Yakutat was only one of a number of Tlingit and mixed Tlingit-Eyak settlements in the region, although all the others have been depopulated or abandoned.

"In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, English, French, Spanish and Russian explorers came to the region. The Russian-American Company built a fort in Yakutat in 1805 to facilitate trade in sea otter pelts. When the Russians cut off access to the fisheries nearby, a Tlingit war party attacked and destroyed the fort.

"By 1886, after the Alaska Purchase by the United States, the black sand beaches in the area were being mined for gold. In 1889 the Swedish Free Mission Church opened a school and sawmill in the area. A cannery, another sawmill, a store and a railroad were constructed from 1903 by the Stimson Lumber Company. Many people moved to the current site of Yakutat to be closer to the Stimpson cannery, which operated through 1970. During World War II, the USAAF stationed a large aviation garrison near Yakutat and built a paved runway. The troops were withdrawn after the war but the runway is still in use as Yakutat Airport, which offers scheduled airline service.

"Fishing is currently the largest economic activity in Yakutat. Yakutat Tlingit Tribe (YTT) received a Language Preservation Grant from the Administration for Native Americans in 2004. With this, they have reinvigorated their efforts to teach the Tlingit language to middle-aged and young people. YTT received another ANA grant in 2007 and is expanding its role in the schools. All the YTT Tlingit language revitalization work focuses on using communicative approaches to second language teaching, such as TPR and ASLA. While working at a local cannery from 1912 to 1941, Seiki Kayamori extensively photographed Yakutat and its area. A large set of prints of his work is held by Yakutat City Hall.

"Yakutat was incorporated at a unified city-borough on September 22, 1992. Until this time, it had been part of the Skagway-Yakutat-Angoon Census Area, which was afterwards renamed to Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon Census Area."

Source: Wikipedia

 
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