Alaska: American Indians

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Alaska is from an Aleut word, "alaxsxaq," meaning "great land" or "that which the sea breaks against".

Native American affairs in Alaska were supervised by the Office of Education, Alaska Division, until 1931. In that year, the Office of Indian Affairs (soon to become the Bureau of Indian Affairs) took over the responsibilities of overseeing the relationship between Alaskan natives and the federal government.

Tribes and Bands of Alaska

Ahtena, Aleut, Athapascan, Dihai-Kutchin, Eskimo, Haida, Han, Ingalik, Inupiat, Koyukon, Kutcha-Kutchin, Nabesna, Niska, Natsit-Kutchin, Tanaina, Tanana, Tennuth-Kutchin, Tlingit, Tranjik-Kutchin, Tsimshian, Vunta-Kutchin, Yupik

Inuit is used for Eskimos living in Canada.


  • Hodge, Frederick Webb., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, Washington D.C.:Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of Ethnology, Bulletin #30 1907.
  • Swanton, John W. The Indian Tribes of North America,  Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin #145, 1984. (ISBN 0-8063-1730-2   LC 2002117802)


  • Annette Island Reservation; Federal, under the jurisdiction of Metlakatla Field Office, Tribes: Tsimposhian
  • Craig Reeservation: State, under the jurisdiction of Prince of Wales Island, Tribe: Tlingit
  • Hoonah Reservation: State, under the jurisdiction of Chicagof Island, Tribe: Tlingit
  • Hydaburg Reservation: State, under the jurisdiction of Prince of Wales Island, Tribe: Haida
  • Kake Reservation: State, under the jurisdiction of Kupreanof Island, Tribe: Tlingit
  • Klawock Reservation: State, under the jurisdiction of Prince of Wales Island, Tribe: Tlingit
  • Isaacs, Katherine M., editor. Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America. U.S. Data Sourcebook, Volume 11 Appendices, Bureau of Indian Affairs List of Americna Indian Reservations, Appendix E, Indian Reservations, Omnigraphics, Inc., 1991.

Indian Schools

In 1950, an estimated 2950 Alaska Native students attended the territorial schools. Another 4200 Native students attended one of the approximately 100 community day schools provided and manned by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Finally, government-run boarding schools accounted for nearly 1000 more Native students in elementary and high school grades. Perhaps 2000 school-age Native children attended no school.

  • Juneau Agency school records 1927-1952. United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Family History Library film 1st of nine 1030793 
  • Mt. Edgcumbe, near Sitka, a high school age boarding school.
  • White Mountain, 90 miles east of Nome, another high school age boarding school.
  • Wrangell Institute, in southeast Alaska,an elementary age boarding school, with about 200 pupils.

Agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affair


  • Hill, Edward E., The Office of Indian Affairs 1824-1880: Historical Sketches, Clearwater publishing Co., Inc., 1974
(Edition for 1967 published under title: Historical sketches for jurisdictional and subject heading used for the letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-80.)

Family History Library

for a complete list of records search the Family History Library Catalog by Tribe and Locality

See also:

Alaska - Church for missions

Alaska_History for a calendar of events

Alaska - Military for a list of forts