Indian reservation organized under federal law
in the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 Department of Labor Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (MET-luh-KAT-luh); a.k.a. Annette Island Reserve
- Community's Judicial District
- Recording District
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.
- 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.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
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.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Metlakatla Indian Community, Annette
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- 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
- Metlakatla is accessible by air and water. The Annette Island Airport is owned and operated by the community, with a 7,493' long and 150' wide asphalt runway and a 5,709' long by 150' wide gravel crosswind runway. Two seaplane bases are available; one is state-owned, and the other is at Port Chester and community-owned. Scheduled float plane services are available from Ketchikan. Port facilities include a dock with a barge ramp, two small boat harbors, and two marine ways. The state ferry serves Metlakatla from Ketchikan between spring and fall. Freight arrives by barge. The 14.7-mile Walden Point Road links the northern end of Annette Island and Ketchikan with a ferry docking site.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection
- Community's Senate District
- Community's House District