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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


Katmai (Qayirwik)

Katmai holds an important place in Alaskan history. The Alutiit settled Katmai long before the Russians put up a fur trading post in 1786. With abundant supplies of timber, fish and caribou, Katmai was at the crossroads of several overland trade routes to Bristol Bay.

American fur trading companies also did business at Katmai after 1867. Although Douglas later became a more significant trading post, Katmai remained the largest village on the Alaska Peninsula, with a Russian Orthodox chapel and store. It also continued to have a role in the fur trade. Most Katmai residents were fishing at Kaflia Bay and Cold Bay when the volcano erupted and destroyed the village in 1912. After the eruption, they traveled to Afognak and finally settled in Perryville. Today the remains of Katmai village are part of Katmai National Park, which is also home to some of the largest populations of brown bear on the Alaska Peninsula.



Katmai village after the eruption, looking north toward Katmai volcano, 1912. Courtesy of the National Archives, National Geographic Society Katmai Expedition Collection.

Deserted barabaras covered with volcanic ash, Katmai, 1915. Courtesy of University of Alaska Anchorage, Archives and Manuscripts Department, National Geographic Society Katmai Expedition Collection, Box 1, 3946.

Russian Orthodox chapel at Katmai, 1915. Courtesy of University of Alaska Anchorage, Archives and Manuscripts Department, National Geographic Society Katmai Expedition Collection, Box 1, 3635.

Interior of the Russian Orthodox chapel after the flood, Katmai, 1915. Courtesy of University of Alaska Anchorage, Archives and Manuscripts Department, National Geographic Society Katmai Expedition Collection, Box 1, 3773.







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