13 November 2015

Indian village destroyed

November is National Native American Heritage Month and the Native Alaskans are included as well. So, I have been keeping an eye out for relevant articles. Today, while searching for an On This Day post, I found an article about an entire village being destroyed. 

The brief article, published in the Lancaster Daily Intelligencer (Lancaster, PA) on 13 November 1882,  was a dispatch from Victoria, British Columbia in Canada. The dispatch read:

The United States revenue cutter Thomas Corwin, which has arrived from the North, brings particulars of the recent fight with Indians and the destruction of a villagel. The village destroyed was located at Hochinoo, on the Alaskan coast. The tribe had seized and held two white men and a steam launch which had been sent out for whales. The tribe surrounded and captured the launch with two white men and nearly succeeded in getting possession of the tug. The later, however, got away and steamed to Stika. 

On 9 November 1882 the Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) published a note from the SS Corwin. The report noted that the Hochinoo Indians in Alaska were an aggressive group. They had seized the boats and whaling gear and even took two white prisoners. According to the Gazette, the US Steamer Adams was dispatched to the trouble. The prisoners were released and a penalty was issued. The Hochinoo Indians were fined 400 blankets. They refused and the US Steamer Adams was then forced to “destroy a portion of their village.” 

So who were the Indians in Hochinoo off Alaska?

The site Culinary Lore posted an article about how liquor came to be called Hooch. The origin is said in fact to come from the Hoochinoo Indians. The article states they are a small Tlingit tribe. Their name is Hutsnuwu, which means brown bear or grizzly bear fort. The tribe had a reputation for drunkenness. 

The Tlingit tribe was not always ruthless. In fact, many Tlingit men served as code talkers during WWI and WWII. They saved many lives. Jennifer Canfield, of the Juneau Empire, wrote a great article about the Tlingit code talkers two years ago. You can read that article HERE. 

Canfield, Jennifer. “Tlingit code talkers honored with Congressional Silver Medals.” Juneau Empire. Posted 21 November 2013. Accessed 13 November 2015. 

Lancaster daily intelligencer. (Lancaster, Pa.), 13 Nov. 1882. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.