This Tlingit community is the only
permanent settlement on Admiralty Island, located on the southwest side
at Kootznahoo Inlet. Angoon is 60 miles southwest of Juneau. It lies at
approximately 57░ 30' N Latitude, 134░ 35' W Longitude (Sec. 25, T050S,
R067E, Copper River Meridian). The community is located in the Juneau
Recording District. The area encompasses 23 sq. miles of land and 14 sq.
miles of water.
Island has long been the home of the Kootznoowoo Tlingit tribe.
Kootznoowoo means "fortress of bears." From the 1700s to the mid-1800s,
fur trading was the major money-making activity in the area. In 1878,
the Northwest Trading Company established a trading post and whaling
station on nearby Killisnoo Island and villagers were employed to hunt
whales. Whaling, a BIA school and a Russian Orthodox Church attracted
many Tlingits to Killisnoo. In 1882, a whaling vessel's harpoon charge
accidentally misfired and exploded, killing a Native crewmember - a
Tlingit shaman, or medicine man. Villagers demanded payment of 200
blankets to the man's family, as was customary. The Northwest Trading
Co. felt threatened and sought assistance from the U.S. Navy at Sitka.
The village and a summer camp were subsequently shelled and destroyed by
the Navy Cutter U.S.S. Corwin. Native accounts of the attack claim six
children died by smoke inhalation. In 1973, Angoon won a $90,000
out-of-court settlement from the Federal government for the 1882
bombardment. Whaling did not last long, and the company switched to
herring processing. During this time, many Tlingits moved to Killisnoo
for employment at the plant. In 1928, Killisnoo was destroyed by fire,
and many Tlingits returned to Angoon. The Angoon post office was
established in 1928.