Klukwan Alaska

Nestled along the banks of the Chilkat River rests an ancient Tlingit village called Klukwan. The name Klukwan is taken from the Tlingit phrase "Tlakw Aan" which literally means "Eternal Village," or "The Village That Has Always Been." Local oral history tells us that Klukwan was originally settled many years ago by a group of Gaanaxteidi (Raven Clan) men and their Kaagwaantaan (Eagle Clan) wives. The village site was chosen because of the rich natural environment found here, and it is located in remote northern southeast Alaska just 18 miles south of the Canadian border. Klukwan enjoys a multi-layered cultural history that is preserved through the Tlingit language, rituals, stories, oral histories, and subsistence activities practiced by the Chilkat Tlingits, a federally recognized tribe known as the Chilkat Indian Village (CIV).

Language and Culture

Members of the village practice cultural protocols that have been unique to the Tlingits for thousands of years. The matrilineal clan system relies on a moiety structure with clearly defined responsibilities to each Eagle (Kaagwaantaan) or Raven (Ganaaxteidi) clan. Songs, stories, dances, and language are taught to the youth. Reliance on elders reinforces the ceremonial traditions, often relayed in the heritage language, resulting in a rich culture that is uniformly practiced and respected. The longevity of the culture and its people is founded in the preservation of the Tlingit language, a primary goal of our tribe. Opportunities to explore traditional and cultural arts have been highly successful, as evidenced by continuing independent practice. The community has taken some bold steps in the last fifteen years to preserve and revive many of the cultural arts and practices of our ancestors. It is now possible to take a Jilkaat Kwaan Cultural Tour and soon visitors will be able to see the new Cultural Center, Hospitality House and the Bentwood Box Gift Shop.

Education

In addition to the Klukwan School and community library, Klukwan hosts many courses around traditional knowledge, languages, and traditional arts.

 

Chilkat Facts

Klukwan has one of the highest percentage of veterans per capita in our state and nation.

The name Klukwan is taken from the Tlingit phrase "Tlakw Aan" which literally means "Eternal Village."

The word "Chilkat" in the Tlingit language means "storage container for salmon." This name was given because of warm springs that keep the river from freezing over in the winter months. This allows the salmon to spawn late into winter thus creating safe "storage" for salmon.

The Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is home to the world's largest concentration of bald eagles. 200 to 400 birds live there year-round, with up to 4,000 observed during the annual Fall Congregation.

Klukwan is the only native village in southeastern Alaska that has no other form of government than the tribal government.

Klukwan's land/tribal jurisdiction covers an area of about 2,000 acres.

Klukwan is considered by many Natives in southeast Alaska to be the "capital of the Tlingit nation."

Klukwan's ancestral land base extended from Stonehouse Creek to Berners Bay. An area covering approximately 2.6 million acres.

Klukwan is surrounded by the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve and the highest concentrations of eagles occurs right in the vicinity of the village.

The population of Klukwan is under 100 people.

The church building in Klukwan is 110 years old as of 2013 and is the oldest church building in southeast Alaska that is still in use by the community. The first church service was held on December 25, 1903.

100% of the people who live in Klukwan depend upon subsistence food for at least part of their sustenance.

The Disney movie White Fang was filmed in Haines and Klukwan, in 1991.

Bald eagles weigh from 10 to 14 pounds, have 7,000 feathers, a wingspan range from 72 to 90 inches, and lifting power of about 4 pounds.

Bald eagles can fly to an altitude of 10,000 feet. During level flight, they can achieve speeds of about 30 to 35 mph.

A gethering of eagles is known as a "council"

Community Goals

Three major goals for the community:

  • to perpetuate traditional knowledge
  • to improve community self-sufficiency
  • to move toward total wellness.

What's New

October 2014 Environmental Newsletter is now available! See our Village News Archives section.

Housing Improvement Program - grant program to help eligible Indians & Alaska Natives repair/renovate existing housing, and in some special cases, build New Homes. Please read the flyer for further instructions. You can find the application at the CIV office, or on the webstie under Tribal Services.

Recent Events

Village Calendar:

Clinic physician visit dates

Klukwan Images

KC Lance 2K-clinic staff