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Overview

Alaska's only Indian Reservation, the island community of Metlakatla is a dozen miles southwest of Ketchikan in Southeast Alaska. The town of 1,500 people occupies the northwest end of Annette Island, and was established in 1887 by William Duncan, an Anglican missionary. Duncan and his 823 Tsimpshian followers moved here from British Columbia after a squabble with Episcopal authorities, building an elaborate church and a thriving town. During World War II, Metlakatla housed a large military base to protect the coast from Japanese submarine attacks. Today, the town has a small fishing fleet, cannery, and cold storage facility. You can tour ...

Alaska's only Indian Reservation, the island community of Metlakatla is a dozen miles southwest of Ketchikan in Southeast Alaska. The town of 1,500 people occupies the northwest end of Annette Island, and was established in 1887 by William Duncan, an Anglican missionary. Duncan and his 823 Tsimpshian followers moved here from British Columbia after a squabble with Episcopal authorities, building an elaborate church and a thriving town. During World War II, Metlakatla housed a large military base to protect the coast from Japanese submarine attacks. Today, the town has a small fishing fleet, cannery, and cold storage facility. You can tour Father Duncan's cottage (complete with his old medicines and medical texts), or see the grandiose Episcopal church that still dominates town. A traditional long house is open for tours and Native dance performances when small cruise ships are in port, and nearby are hiking paths into the hills. Most interesting is the mile-and-a-half trail up Yellow Hill, a distinctive sandstone escarpment with views in all directions on a clear day. A couple of local places provide food and lodging in Metlakatla. Most independent visitors take the twice-daily state ferry from Ketchikan or fly on one of the scheduled air taxis.

Don Pitcher
About the Expert

Don Pitcher has written or photographed 10 travel guidebooks to Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, and the San Juan Islands for Avalon Travel Publishing, Random House, and Sasquatch Books.

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Don Pitcher for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Located on Annette Island's Port Chester harbor, 15 miles south of Ketchikan, in Alaska.
  • Research: Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    June through September