Nuchek, Constantine Harbor

Nuchek, Constantine Harbor

by | May 19, 2021

Nuchek is the site of a historical village and Russian trading post on Constantine Harbor at Port Etches on Hinchinbrook Island in Prince William Sound, about 56 miles (90 km) south-southwest of Valdez and 35 miles (56 km) southwest of Cordova, Alaska. The village was first documented by Captain James Cook during his third Voyage of Discovery in the Gulf of Alaska in 1778. The name is derived from the Eyak word “Nuuciq”.

In 1793, Russian fur traders with the Lebedev-Lastochkin Company, a predecessor to the Russian-American Company, built a stockade and established a permanent trading post and a Russian Orthodox church here later called Fort Saint Konstantine. The name is probably after Grand Duke Konstantine, the younger brother of Czar Alexander II. In 1830, Ivan Chernof of the Russian American Company referred to it as “Konstantin Harbor”. The English form “Constantine” was first reported by U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1904. The Alaska Commercial Company had a trading center at Nuchek that served all of southcentral Alaska through much of the 19th century. In 1928, after the death of Nuchek’s last chief, the remaining Alutiiq people left the village.

Chugach Alaska Corporation is one of 13 Alaska Native Regional Corporations created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 for the settlement of aboriginal land claims and has over 2,200 Alaska Native shareholders primarily of Chugach Alutiiq, Eyak, and Tlingit descent. The corporation now runs the Nuchek Spirit Camp at the site of the historical village. The camp is designed for children and elders of the Chugach people to spend time together and raise awareness of their history and culture. Activities include gathering and preparing subsistence foods, language lessons, woodcarving, beading, storytelling, and traditional singing and dancing. Read more here and here. Explore more of Nuchek and Constantine Harbor here:

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