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LOOKING BOTH WAYS: Heritage and Identity of the Alutiiq People of Southern Alaska

Introduction
About the People
Alutiiq Villages
About this Project
Supplemental Reading

Object Categories
Ancestors
Our History
Our Way of Living
Our Beliefs
Our Family


Douglas (Kaguyak)

Migrants from the villages of Katmai and Savonoski founded Kaguyak, a village on the Alaska Peninsula that was later called Douglas. During Russian times, Douglas served as a base for sea otter hunting. After 1878 Douglas replaced Katmai as the most important coastal fur trade post on the Alaska Peninsula.

However, there were few sea otters left by the late 1890's, which created hardships for villagers at Douglas. Men devoted less time to subsistence hunting and fishing in order to seek out otters for the fur trade companies. Women and the older men and boys at the village could not prepare enough food to last through the long winters. As a result, many families relied on credit at the company stores for food, clothing and other provisions. As the fur trade declined, villagers suffered hunger and starvation when store credit was restricted.

Douglas was covered by a thick layer of ash and debris churned out by the Katmai volcanic eruption in 1912. The residents of the village were fishing at Kaflia Bay at the time of the eruption, and were rescued there by a U. S. Revenue Cutter Service ship.



Chapel and graveyard at Douglas village, covered with volcanic ash from the Katmai eruption, 1912. Courtesy of the National Archives, National Geographic Society Katmai Expedition Collection.

Ciqluat (barabaras) at Douglas village, 1912. Courtesy of the National Archives, National Geographic Society Katmai Expedition Collection.

The inside of this ciqluaq is dusted with ash from the Katmai eruption, 1912. Courtesy of the Kodiak Historical Society, Erskine Collection, P.600.14.1.









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