About This Place
Metlakatla ( /ˌmɛtləkætlə/) is a census-designated place (CDP) on Annette Island in Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, Alaska, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 1,375.
Metlakatla comes from Maxłakxaała, a Tsimshian word meaning "Salt Water Passage." Metlakatla was named after another village of the same name ("Old Metlakatla") in British Columbia, which is on Metlakatla Pass, near Prince Rupert. In a more ancient time, it was a Tlingit hunting ground known as "Taquan". The Tsimshians were granted permission to own the land by Chief Johnson of the Tlinget tribe.
In 1886, William Duncan, an English tannery employee and lay minister of the Anglican Church, had a doctrinal dispute with the Church authorities in Metlakatla, B.C. He and a devoted group of Tsimshian followers decided to leave Metlakatla. Duncan went to Washington, D.C., in the United States and asked the U.S. government to give his group land in Alaska. The U.S. under President Cleveland gave them Annette Island after a search committee in sea-going canoes discovered its calm bay, accessible beaches, nearby waterfall, and abundant fish.