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AK MARITIME: Archaeologists Provide Tlingit Youth with a Window to Their Heritage
10 Region, May 1, 2005
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The Hazy Islands are a group of tiny islands far offshore in Alaska's southeastern panhandle. The islands were one of the oldest refuges in Alaska until they were incorporated into the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge in 1980. The Hazys are known to the local Tlingit people as Deikeenoow. The islands played a critical role in the culture of the Klawock and Kake clans. In addition to being an important site for collecting bird eggs, the islands anchor several myths concerning the creation of the world by Raven. They also played a crucial part in coming of age observances for young men.

This link between tribal youth and the islands has been severed in recent decades. No young person, and few middle aged adults, in Klawock have ever seen a murre egg. In 2004, the Fish and Wildlife Service Archaeology Program received a Challenge Grant to document the importance of the Hazy Islands to the Klawock Tlingit. In 2005 a second Challenge Grant will allow the program to complete documentation in Kake and begin preparing a National Register of Historic Places nomination for the islands. A long term goal is to initiate annual pilgrimages to the islands to reconnect Tlingit youth through this window to their heritage. A miniature replica of the Hazy Islands Totem Pole is being carved for the Refuge Visitor Center in Homer.

Contact Info: Kevin Painter, , kevin_painter@fws.gov



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