The Place Not Yet Subjugated: Prince William Sound, 1770–1800

Igor Krupnik, Kenneth L. Pratt, Matt L. Ganley and Polly C. Wheeler

Abstract

Apart from the important ethnographic descriptions of Kaj Birket-Smith (1953) and Frederica de Laguna (1956), only vague statements of the socio-territorial dynamics in the Chugach region of Alaska, Prince William Sound, are found in the literature. The historical records from the 18th and 19th century often note the seemingly small Chugach population and expansive territory occupied by this group. Analyzing the primary historical sources from the late 18th and early 19th centuries provides insight into how the Chugach were organized within the region and what events transpired to compel local Chugach groups to unify or wage war with each other for defense of territory and property. The methods used by Ernest Burch in his research of traditional Iñupiaq societies serve as guides in this research, though the resulting reconstruction differs in important ways from the groups he describes in northwest Alaska.

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