So, I spent most of June on the Metlakatla Indian Reserve on in Southeast Alaska. It’s easily one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Its eagles were one of the first things I noticed about the place. It seems to have a lot of them. Locals seemed amused to see me clicking away at the local equivalent of pigeons, but to me they were damned beautiful pigeons, and so I clicked on. These are lazy eagles, or so one my students told me. They don’t hunt as much as eagles out and away from the harbor. These guys obviously get a lot of easy meals off the boats, I’m sure. And still, that doesn’t make them any less majestic looking. So, again, I clicked away.
When an eagle looks back at you, it’s hard to escape the notion that one is being judged. Yeah, judge me if you like dude; I got your picture, so there! It’s really hard to get a decent picture of these guys in flight. I tried hard and almost managed it a time or two. I definitely prefer it when they perch in a tree and pose for me. They can judge all they like, just so long as they give me time to zoom in.
So, I figure, what could be more fitting for an Independence Day post than a bunch of eagle pics? Anyway, have a look!
(You may of course click to embiggen.)
Metlakatla is the only Indian reservation in Alaska. It began when William Duncan, an Anglican missionary separated with his church and brought a portion of his Tsimshian congregation from old Metlakatla to Annette Island, thus founding the community of New Metlakatla. It is still predominantly a Tsimshian community, though Tlingit and Haida, and a whole host of other peoples live there as well. Father Duncan’s faith isn’t the only one here anymore, but with half a dozen churches in a town of 1300, it is still very much a Christian community.
The town has a casino, but that didn’t get a lot of action while I was there, or at least I didn’t notice it. They also have a tourist ship, which seems to get a little business. (At least they did from me.) They also have a cannery, and this meant lots of outsiders showed up as the fishing season started. …Suddenly Russian could be heard all over the place. All in all, it was an interesting place.
(Click to embiggen. You know you wanna!)
I recall talking to someone before I went about activities on the island. She said, there were plenty of good hiking places. I asked if it was dangerous, and was told in reply that there were no bears on the island. So, I hiked a good 5 miles or so away from town out on the beach. Later someone told me they do have wolves.
…good to know.
Funny thing about beaches. It’s no real surprise that refuse washes up on shore and sometimes people leave stuff. They should know better, yes, but they do. What’s not so obvious is just why so much of it gets hung up or stuck on a tree branch.
(Don’t click to embiggen this stuff! Seriously, just don’t!)
One day, I had the oddest exchange. It went like this:
Stranger: Sorry to bother you, I had to check on my log.
Me: Your log?
Stranger: My log.
The mystery was somewhat resolved when a boat came to haul it away. The skipper told me it was going to be a totem.
For most of the time I stayed on the island, local fisherman used drift nets, but the very morning I left, they shifted to seine netting which was a bit more interesting cause you can see the floats.
(Click to embiggen!)
The eagles certainly found these nets rather interesting. They were very interested in seeing the results.
Happy July 4th everybody!