Old Kukak, Devils Cove

Old Kukak, Devils Cove

by | May 9, 2020

Old Kukak was a historical Alaska Peninsula Alutiiq village located on Kukak Point that forms the northern shore of Devils Cove, in Katmai National Park and Preserve, about 94 miles (152 km) southwest of King Salmon and 74 miles (119 km) northwest of Kodiak, Alaska. Between 1827 and 1836 the shoreline of the entire Alaska Peninsula was carefully surveyed by the Russian American Company. The 1831-1832 surveys by Ivan F. Vasiliev charted the coast from Cape Douglas south to Chignik Bay and he first reported the village location. The name was first published in 1847 as “Selenie Kukak” on Russian Hydrographic charts. Devils Cove extends west for 4 miles (6.5 km) from the mouth of Kukak Bay.

Russian fur hunters moved eastward from the Aleutian Islands into the upper Alaska Peninsula beginning in the 1760s. At the time of the first contact with the Russians, the Katmai Native inhabitants were living in settlements along the coast at Katmai Bay, Kukak Bay, and the interior village of Savonoski. In 1806, Kukak village was visited by Dr. Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff, a German physician and naturalist, and he provided a description of what may have been a seasonal camp: “The inhabitants gave us a very friendly reception in their small earthen-covered hut with grass growing all over the outside and an entrance that was so low and narrow that we could only crawl in hunched over”.

The Russian Orthodox Church was very influential over the Alutiiq People. In 1794, the first missionaries arrived on Kodiak and within two years they were active on the Alaska Peninsula. During the first half of the 1800s, the Kodiak parish of the Russian Orthodox Church included all the Shelikof Strait and Savonoski villages. The missionaries were critical of the Russian American Company for its ill-treatment of the Alutiiq People, which included the practice of taking hunters far away from their homes, and the subsequent depopulation of the villages. The Katmai Wilderness Lodge now occupies the old village site, built on land still owned by the Russian Orthodox Church. Read more here and here. Explore more Old Kukak here:

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This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2021 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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