Friday, June 02, 2006

Northwest Native American Tlingit Tribe To Help Find Site

Archaeologists at Sitka National Historical Park in Alaska have unearthed musket shot and cannonballs where they believe Northwest Native American Tlingit Indians built a wooden palisade fort. In October, 1804, the Kiks.Dadi clan held off Russian attackers for six days until their ammunition was spent. On the sixth night, the story goes, the Russians heard a mournful ceremonial song rising from the fort. By morning, 800 women, children, elders and warriors had departed for the far side of their island home and to an island beyond. That retreat ended open Tlingit resistance to the Russians and ushered in what some call the Russian America period in Alaska.

Irene Jimmy, a Northwest Native American Tlingit elder from Sitka and a descendant of the warring Kiks.Dadi clan, remembers hearing about the Battle of Sitka as a child. But she learned less about the details and more about the powerful emotions inside her people. "I got little bits of information from my mother, but it was such a sad, sad thing for her to repeat it," she said. "She would get tearful when she talked about it." Though clan members have been long silent about the events, Jimmy and others are now cooperating with the National Park Service to pinpoint the location of the fort.

See Northwest Native American Art at Free Spirit Gallery

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