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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


Tatitlek (Tátitláq)

The village of Tatitlek (population 119 in 1990) is located in northeastern Prince William Sound. Like many Alutiiq villages, its location has been moved several times. Beginning in the 19th century, its residents began trading furs for European goods. First, hunters traded sea otter pelts with the Russians at Nuchek and, by the 1890's, with American traders at the Alaska Commercial Company store at Tatitlek. Many new people came to the region in the early 1900's as prospectors passed through the village on their way to mines on the Copper River. A copper mine opened at nearby Ellamar in 1898, and a cannery at Ellamar (1940 to 1954) provided jobs for people from Tatitlek.

Today, many Tatitlek families participate in commercial fishing for salmon and halibut. All through the year they also hunt, fish, and gather plants and beach foods for their own use. Seals, salmon, and herring are some of the most important wild foods.

In 1989 an oil tanker, the Exxon Valdez, ran aground not far from Tatitlek and spilled millions of gallons of crude oil into the waters of Prince William Sound. Even though currents carried the oil away from the village, the harvest of subsistence species decreased that year by 89%.



The village of Tatitlek, Prince William Sound, 1990. Photograph © Henry Huntington/ AlaskaStock.com.

Village of Tatitlek, 1946. Courtesy of Alaska State Library. USFS Collection, PCA 207-3-5.

Women and children at Tatitlek, circa 1909. Courtesy of Alaska State Library, Flamen Ball Collection, PCA 24-81.

Fish racks near houses at Tatitlek, circa 1909. Courtesy of Alaska State Library, Flamen Ball Collection, PCA 24-119.

People at Tatitlek, circa 1909. Courtesy of Alaska State Library, Flamen Ball Collection, PCA 24-120.

Mission and school at Tatitlek, circa 1902. Courtesy of Alaska State Library, Wickersham Collection, PCA 277-7-25.



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