Tatitlek, Prince William Sound

Tatitlek, Prince William Sound

by | Nov 14, 2018

Tatitlek is a small community located on the northeast shore of Tatitlek Narrows across from Bligh Island in Prince William Sound, Alaska. It lies 23.6 air miles (38 km) southwest of Valdez and 39.3 air miles (63 km) northwest of Cordova.

Tatitlek is an Alutiiq village first reported by Ivan Petroff as “Tatikhlek” in 1880. In the 19th century, its residents began trading sea otter pelts with Russians in the neighboring village of Nuchek. By the 1890s, there was trading directly with an Alaska Commercial Company store in Tatitlek. The present spelling was published in 1910 by the U.S. Geological Survey, who reported that the village originally stood at the head of Gladhaugh Bay, also called Virgin Bay, but was moved to its present site at the base of Copper Mountain. The move was precipitated by the development of the Ellamar Mine in 1898 at Virgin Bay. The villages were connected by road, and a cannery at Ellamar from 1940-1954 provided jobs and supported the Tatitlek economy.

The Tatitlek Corporation, one of five Alaska Native Village Corporations within the geographic boundaries of the Chugach Alaska Corporation, was established by Congress under terms of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971. Today many Tatitlek families participate in commercial and subsistence herring, salmon, and halibut fishing. In 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground not far from Tatitlek and spilled millions of gallons of crude oil into the waters of Prince William Sound. Although currents carried most of the oil away from the village, the spill and its aftermath contributed to the decline of commercial and subsistence fish in the region. Read more here and here. Explore more of Tatitlek and Prince William Sound here:

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