Chichagof Baranof Map 1941

Map shows Admiralty, Baranof and Chichagof islands with named locations

Chichagof, Baranof and Admiralty islands make up the ABC islands of the Alexander Archipelago. Both Chichagof and Admiralty share some similarities in terms of geologic origin but Baranof has a distinctly different pedigree. All three of the islands have traveled thousands of miles to get to their current location.

Chichagof Island is unique in that there are at least 13 exotic terrains that make up a majority of the island, the rock that makes up Northeast Chichagof Island where Hoonah is located was at one time part of a mountain range found in Northeast Siberia. Through plate tectonics and continental drift NE Chichagof Island moved from its place of origin and through plate tectonics and continental drift it moved south to just a few degrees north of the equator. Once NE Chichagof reached its southern most position it changed direction and moved in a NW direction heading back towards where its journey started. In its travels and constant collisions with other land masses it took pieces of those continents with it as it moved along, and this is how it accumulated the number of exotic terrains that it has today.

Cultural Narrative: 

Chichagof and Baranof Islands are home to Xutsnoowú Kwáan (Brown Bear Fort), Sheey At’iká Kwáan (Outsdie Edge of a Branch Tribe)  and Xunaa Káawu (People from the Direction of the Northwind). These are the Tlingit people of Angoon, Sitka and Hoonah.

Traditional Knowledge: 

These islands were rich in Tlingit foods and therefore shared by the groups listed. Numerous agreements and arranged marriages helped to form peace treaties, establish boundaries and hunting/fishing rights that were respected by those listed. If one group needed to use a territory claimed by another, careful and respectful negotiations would take place so there would be no penalty for intruding into another’s territory. Though these are three separate groups that share these islands they would often band together to defend these islands against those who were uninvited and not connected to these people.