For the past 13 years, Kootznoowoo, Inc. the Alaska Native Village Corporation for the village of Angoon, has partnered with Alaska Seaplanes and more recently, with Above and Beyond Alaska (ABAK), to successfully operate Pack Creek Bear Tours, on Admiralty Island. Angoon is the ancient home of the Tlingit Xóotsnoowe’di. (Bear Fort People).
Before non-Native explorers initially made contact with the Xóotsnoowe’di, Admiralty Island was referred to as Xóotsnoowu, which translates to “Fortress of the Bears” due to the abundance of brown bears inhabiting the island. This historical significance is reflected in the name of the village corporation for the people of Angoon, known as Kootznoowoo. Additionally, it serves as the inspiration for the name of our collaborative bear viewing venture.
As an Alaska Native Village Corporation, Kootznoowoo, Inc. has embraced its responsibility to upholding the traditional values of our Tlingit ancestors, while developing economic opportunities for the residents of Angoon and their descendants. The Corporation’s board of directors and staff are committed to remaining watchful stewards over the land that they have been entrusted, and doing whatever they can to strengthen the cultural and economic fabric of the community.
The village of Angoon, located on the southwest coast of Admiralty Island in central southeast Alaska, has a current population of 452, and has one of the highest percentages of Alaska Natives (82%) of any community in Southeast Alaska.
Angoon has a rich cultural heritage that is woven into the fabric of the community. This history includes not only the culture, traditions, and stories of the Tlingit Xóotsnoowe’di, but also includes the tragic distinction of being bombed and destroyed by the U.S. Navy in October of 1882.
Angoon also serves as the gateway to the Admiralty Island National Monument that was created in 1978, because of the diligent efforts of Angoon community leaders who sought to protect the resources and beauty of the island, and their traditional hunting and gathering way of life.
– Jon Wunrow
Director of Tourism and Natural Resources for Kootznoowoo, Inc.