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Eagle Harbor

Word in Alutiiq: Irak
In a sentence:

Amlesqat Nuniarmiut Iragmek taimaut. - There are a lot of Old Harbor people that come from Eagle Harbor.

MP3 File: EagleHarbor

Today the grass-covered depressions of sod houses and the memories shared by Elders are all that remain of Eagle Harbor, a once sizeable Alutiiq village. This community rested on the southern shore of Ugak Bay, facing Saltery Cove and the rocky capes of Pasagshak. Historic source indicate the community may have been present as early as 1805. About 1830, the Russian artel Igak moved across Ugak Bay to Orlovsk, or Eagle Harbor, from its location in present day Saltery Cove. In 1837, Eagle Harbor became a relocation village for Native survivors of a smallpox epidemic.  More than 730 Native people died during the epidemic, decimating many small communities. Russian colonists reorganized the Native population into communities, often near workstations. In Ugak Bay, Native laborers lived in Orlovsk while Russian American Company staff members lived in the adjacent community of Minokova.

Despite its grim start, Eagle Harbor flourished. It was well located for harvesting sea lions that were plentiful on Ugak Island at the mouth of the bay. Residents also took large quantities of salmon from streams beside the village. Some families also kept cattle, while others worked as sea otter hunters and trappers. The community had a Russian Orthodox Church and a store. In 1879 Eagle Harbor was home to about 265 people. In summertime, people moved across the bay to work temporarily at the salmon saltery at Saltery Cove. By 1920, families were moving out of Eagle Harbor. Trapping produced little income, the store closed, and people needed jobs. Village families gradually moved to Kodiak, Woody Island, and Old Harbor.

Photo:  Aerial View of the Eagle Harbor area.

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