Port of Hydaburg
Review and History

The Port of Hydaburg lies on the shores of the Sukkwan Strait off Cordova Bay. It is the most southern city on Prince of Wales Island in Alaska. By sea, the Port of Hydaburg is about 120 nautical miles northwest of Canada's Prince Rupert Port. By air, it is almost 260 kilometers (160 miles) southeast of Alaska's Port of Sitka and some 72 kilometers (45 miles) northwest of the Port of Ketchikan.

The Port of Hydaburg's economy is based on fishing. Subsistence resources for residents of the Port of Hydaburg include deer and fish like halibut, salmon, crab, and shrimp. While the Haida Corporation has significant timber holdings, logging was stopped in 1985 when the timber market declined.

Port History

The indigenous Haida people began to migrate to Prince of Wales Island in the 1700s from the Queen Charlotte Islands in Canada.

Sukkan, Howkan, and Klinkwan, three Haida villages, merged in 1911 to form what would become the Port of Hydaburg in order to provide education for the children. In 1912, it was designated an Indian reservation.

The new Port of Hydaburg village soon had a trading company, sawmill, and store. Because the villagers were not satisfied with the reservation status, the land was restored in 1926 as part of the Tongass National Forest, when 189 acres was set aside for the townsite and the school. In 1927, the first fish processing plant opened in the Port of Hydaburg. Three additional canneries operated there throughout the 1930s.

Amendments to the 1936 Indian Reorganization Act led to the Port of Hydaburg becoming the first Alaskan village to form an IRA Council, a private company organized to handle tribal affairs.

In 1926, the land was redesignated to its former status as Tongass National Park but close to 200 acres were set aside for the school and the surrounding town. A fish processing plant and three canneries were opened in the late 20's and 30's.

Today, the Port of Hydaburg supports the largest population of Haida in the State of Alaska. Life in the village of some 380 souls centers on subsistence fishing and hunting and on traditional arts like weaving and wood carving.

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