Tlingit - History and Cultural Relations

Archaeological data suggest that a Tlingit or proto-Tlingit population inhabited the coast of southeastern Alaska by seven thousand B.C. Oral history traces several migration routes of Tlingit clans down various rivers that flowed from the interior to the sea, and linguistic data reveal a close affinity with interior groups. While the neighboring Haida and Tsimshian tribes were pushing some southern Tlingit northward, the northern Tlingit were expanding in Eyak and Eskimo territory. British, French, and Russian interests vied for control of Alaska with the United States acquiring final control over the rich Alaskan resources in 1867. Gunboat diplomacy instituted by the United States undermined local Tlingit autonomy and opened up the territory to outside settlers and gold prospectors. Alaskan natives fought back by organizing the Alaskan Native Brotherhood in 1912 to fight for their civil rights and subsistence resources. In 1929 the Tlingit began a struggle to regain control of their natural resources, resulting in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 transferring some 100 million acres back to Alaskan natives.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: