Land Reborn:
A History of Administration and Visitor Use in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
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Chapter VI:
Dispossessing The Natives

After World War II, the question of Native hunting and trapping rights momentarily came to the fore of management concerns in Glacier Bay National Monument. There were at least two precipitating events that heightened interest in the status of Hoonah Tlingits in the monument. One was the arrest of three Natives of Hoonah by wardens of the Fish and Wildlife Service for hunting and trapping in the monument during the winter of 1945-46. Another was a statement by Frank Sinclair to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) superintendent in Juneau on September 20, 1946, to the effect that he and his family were being dispossessed of their property rights in Glacier Bay. [1] These events led to a conference in Washington, D.C., in December 1946 between BIA and NPS officials. In the negotiations between the two agencies, the BIA's position on behalf of the Tlingits was buttressed by the statements of several Hoonah Tlingits on their use and occupation of Glacier Bay which had been recorded a few months earlier in the summer of 1946 by the BIA's chief counsel, Theodore H. Haas, and anthropologist, Walter R. Goldschmidt. The investigation by Haas and Goldschmidt was made in connection with a larger conflict that was brewing over Tlingit possessory rights throughout southeast Alaska, but their work in the village of Hoonah bore directly on the problem of Glacier Bay. Out of this Washington meeting came an agreement that the Hoonah Tlingits had special privileges in the monument to hunt hair seal and gather gulls eggs and berries. [2] Far from settling the issue, the Park Service came to regard this agreement as the point of departure for their long and troubled relationship with the people of Hoonah. [3]

This was a complex issue with murky origins. Although it can be seen in retrospect that Native rights and NPS goals were set in opposition from the day the monument was created in 1925--and for that matter, that the conflict was implicit in Muir's first contact with the Tlingits in 1879--it appears that NPS officials did not concern themselves with this issue until the boundary extension of 1939. Even after World War II, a counsel to the Park Service could write, "The National Park Service has been but little concerned in the past with Alaskan native claims to land, fishing, and hunting rights and, consequently, has virtually no information in the matter." [4]

It is even less clear when Tlingits became concerned about their rights or privileges in the monument. The earliest known documentation of such concern is a 1937 letter from a BIA official to the school teacher in Hoonah which states: "While in Hoonah some time ago, a number of natives took up with me the question of hunting and carrying fire arms within the boundaries of Glacier Bay National Monument." The official went on to cite a General Land Office circular that described the monument as a wildlife sanctuary and specifically prohibited "firearms, traps, seines, and nets" in the monument without permission of the custodian. Since there was no custodian assigned to the monument, this official concluded, neither the killing of wildlife nor the carrying of firearms within the monument could be permitted. [5] Whether or not this communication, dated May 10, 1937, had anything to do with a request by some 155 petitioners to hunt hair seal in the monument, sent by the Hoonah postmaster to Juneau in the summer of 1937, cannot be confirmed. [6]

The signficance of these two communications is that both failed to initiate a dialogue between the NPS and the Tlingits despite the two groups' opposing interests. Indeed, the first inquiry never got beyond the BIA, while the second was sent from the territorial delegate to the Bureau of Fisheries and was never forwarded to the Park Service. Hoonah Tlingits might have been baffled or disappointed, or they might have chosen to ignore the problem. Since the NPS made virtually no law enforcement effort in the area before 1939, it is not surprising that Tlingits focused on other threats to their hunting and fishing grounds; the Park Service's theoretical commitment to wildlife protection in Glacier Bay meant far less to Tlingits than the very real encroachments on their resource base by commercial fish traps and white trappers and hunters. Throughout the 1930s the Tlingits were deeply involved in Native rights and conservation, but their main battle was with the Bureau of Fisheries and the laws pertaining to the salmon fishery. Even as the clash between Hoonah Tlingit practices and NPS intentions became manifest in 1939-40, neither party showed much interest in confronting the other for the duration of World War II. NPS intentions remained somewhat ambiguous to the Tlingits; moreover, many Hoonah Tlingits enjoyed higher earnings during the war years and were only thrown back on their customary subsistence resources in the monument with the local economic downturn in 1946. [7]

This complex management issue not only had obscure origins, it defied easy definition or classification as well. Even today, after all the attention given to the relationship between Alaska Natives and national parklands over the past twenty-five years, policy analysts are still frequently torn between legal, anthropological, and ecological approaches to specific subsistence use issues. Fifty years ago there was no framework and practically no precedent upon which NPS officials could draw. Initially director Arno B. Cammerer attempted to define the problem of Native trapping and hunting narrowly as a wildlife policy issue. "It is our intention," he wrote to Been on December 1, 1939, "to permit the Indians to continue to take hair seals and to collect gull eggs and berries as they have done in the past, until a definite wildlife policy can be determined." [8] Neither the Tlingits nor the BIA were willing to see Native rights in the area dismissed so lightly, however. The Tlingits succeeded for a time in their effort to protect their interests in Glacier Bay by negotiating certain "privileges" within the monument. That these were "privileges" rather than "rights," however, showed the precariousness of the Tlingits' position.

The first subsection of this chapter will provide background on the Tlingits' changing patterns of use in the area that would be included in the monument in 1939. The second subsection takes a broader regional focus to examine the developing legal context of Tlingit possessory rights in Glacier Bay, and relates this to why the Tlingits' position in Glacier Bay became eroded from 1939 to 1946 and then partially restored by the agreement of December 1946. Finally, the third subsection examines the difficulties that followed that agreement from 1947 through 1952. (The Park Service relationship with the Hoonah Tlingits after this date is picked up again in Chapter X.)

The Mixed Economy of the Tlingits

Today the term "mixed economy" is applied to Alaska villages where people make a living both by harvesting wild foods and by earning cash. In a mixed economy some cash earnings are devoted to the harvesting of fish and game--to buy ammunition, gas, and skiffs, for example. Sharing of harvested resources (without assigning a cash value to them) is also an important feature of this kind of economy. Thus, a growth in cash earnings by a given community or household does not necessarily indicate a commensurate decline in the "subsistence" sector of that community or household economy. [9] It does indicate increased involvement of the community or household in the larger regional economy. As difficult as it is to quantify the subsistence sector of the Tlingits' mixed economy, much has been learned in the past decade by interviewing hundreds of randomly selected heads of households in many southeast Alaska villages. The purpose of these studies is to assist resource managers in the conservation of fish and game and the prioritization of subsistence over non-subsistence harvesters. [10]

In the 1930s and 40s, officials of the BIA and Bureau of Fisheries made similar though less sophisticated appraisals of Tlingit subsistence harvests and cash earnings. Less concerned with the sustainability of wild food harvests than they were with raising the living standards of the Indians, these studies nonetheless reveal that the basic notion of a mixed economy pertained as much in the 1930s and 40s as it does today. While few of the statistics are broken down by village, and in some cases are merely conjectural, they do give a sense of what the Tlingits' mixed economy was like in this period.

In the 1930s, by far the greatest portion of the Tlingits' cash earnings came from seasonal employment as fishermen and cannery workers. In the "Juneau District" (roughly the northern half of the southeast Alaska panhandle) in 1935, fifteen canneries paid a total of $149,319.55 to Tlingit seiners (fishermen) and $46,787.09 to Tlingit cannery workers. Among a total Native population in the district of 2,444, some 862 worked on seiners and 795 worked in canneries. [11] This meant average seasonal earnings of $172.41 for the seiner and $61.38 for the cannery worker, or combined earnings of $233.79 for a household where the husband worked on a fishing boat and the wife in a cannery, as was often the case. Figures for 1936 were higher: average earnings of $440.74 for Native gill netters, $250 to $400 for seiners, and $64.30 for cannery workers. [12] These earnings were sometimes augmented by payments for furs, crafts, and hair seal bounties. From the perspective of the village economy, however, these sources of income were small; over a twelve-month span in 1939-40, for example, Hoonah Tlingits earned $2,955 from seal bounties, or approximately $20-30 per household. [13]

A 1938 census of Hoonah provides another glimpse of the Hoonah Tlingits' mixed economy in this period. This census reported a total population of 832, of whom 734 were Tlingit, 92 white, two Japanese, two Filipino, one Chinese, and one Mexican. The standard BIA census form for Alaska Natives at the time contained blanks for type and size of dwelling, whether the dwelling was owned or rented and its value, value of household equipment, value of furniture, value of personal effects, value of boats, nets, livestock, dogs, foxes, other property, and total worth of the household. Most residents lived in small frame houses; a few still lived in clan houses. A majority of Tlingits owned boats, and the boats were generally their most valuable asset. One individual who was representative of the poorer class rented a house, owned $10 worth of furniture, $90 in personal effects, and no boat, for a total household worth of $100. This man was middle-aged with four dependent children. An individual who fairly reflected the wealthier class of Hoonah Tlingits as recorded by this census owned a $2,500 boat, a $1,000 net, an $800 house and personal effects valued at $1,000. The average total worth of most Tlingit households in the census was on the order of $2,000. [14]

The cash earnings and material wealth of the Tlingits increased significantly during World War II. According to BIA estimates, Hoonah Tlingits had an average household income of $1,085.35 during 1940-45. [15] In November 1945, the average household earnings of the Natives of southeastern Alaska stood at $1,400; the figure given for Hoonah was $1,387. The Tlingits made economic gains during World War II thanks in part to wartime labor shortages and higher wages, and in part to federal loans with which many Tlingit men bought their own commercial fishing boats. As big a gains as these were, however, they were offset by inflation and high costs of merchandise in Alaska and the fact that many of the seemingly most prosperous Tlingits owed large mortgages on their boats. Their income was still far below the average household income in the United States of $2,406.63. BIA officials accurately predicted, moreover, that the Natives' earnings would drop the following year as decommissioned servicemen and laid-off war industry workers went back to work in the commercial fishing industry. [16]

The subsistence sector of the Tlingits' mixed economy was more difficult to quantify. Much of what each house group produced the members used or consumed themselves, while much of it they bartered or shared within the community. Some products they bartered outside the community. Furs, arts and crafts, moccasins, and other such native products they generally exchanged for cash. None of this "income" was taxed, and most of it never had a monetary value attached to it. For purposes of determining each community's needs, the BIA had a standard printed form with which its field agents were supposed to track this "hidden" economy, assigning various items of food and native products an equivalent market value. These sources of "income" were then added to the total wage earnings and welfare payments that together comprised the cash sector of the economy. A comparison of the BIA's figures for the two years 1943 and 1945 shows how variable the Hoonah Tlingits' mixed economy was (Table 1).


Native food products$21,800$8,000
Furs and hides--9,000
Moccasins, arts & crafts2,0001,000

Total income$64,820$100,650

Moreover, a more detailed comparison of the native food products tallied by the BIA in Hoonah for the two years 1943 and 1945 suggests how intractable this "hidden" economy was too (Table 2).


Native food19431945
Game animals22,000 lbs.30,000 lbs.
Seal meat30,000 lbs.5,000 lbs.
Gull eggs800 doz.
Berries & greens30,000 lbs.5,000 lbs.
Seal oil1,000 gal.
Fish60,000 lbs.*12,000 lbs.
5,000 lbs.
*includes 40,000 lbs. sold and 20,000 lbs. for home use.

The omissions and wide variations in these two statistical reports may reflect that a certain amount of guesswork was involved in their compilation. Nevertheless, they provide a sense of the relative importance of different native foods in the subsistence economy. The population of Hoonah for 1943 and 1945 was given as 555 and 525 respectively, indicating a per capita consumption of native foods of 184 pounds in 1943 and 109 pounds in 1945. [19]

Another BIA official made a sample household survey of stored winter food supplies in Hoonah in 1941. He listed a total winter supply of 9,366 pounds of preserved food (Table 3).


Salmon3,435 lbs.smoked

300 lbs.canned

650 lbs.salted
Deer1,448 lbs.canned

600 lbs.dried

150 lbs.salted

25 lbs.grease
Berries & greens2,508 lbs.canned
Seaweed250 lbs.dried

With 61 people "dependent on this supply" (presumably the number who lived in the sampled households), this indicated a winter supply of approximately 153.5 pounds of native food per capita for the village. [20]

These stored native foods represented both a household and community resource. Viola Garfield, an anthropologist who worked on the Tlingit-Haida land claim suit, wrote of these winter stores in 1944: "Nearly every Indian family I have worked with had at least some dried salmon, and many had, in addition, seaweed, eulachen, and berries which they had gathered and processed themselves or bought from other natives for winter use." [21]

Theodore H. Haas and Walter R. Goldschmidt, surveying Tlingit and Haida villages in the summer of 1946 to determine their possessory rights, found a mixed economy "compounded of aboriginal land uses and modern industrial practices." They noted that both of these economic sectors were based on exploiting the same natural resources. In terms of food storage and consumption, Haas and Goldschmidt reported that the Tlingits prepared some food "according to the fashion of their forefathers," and preserved other food by modern means in cans and preserving jars. [22]

Haas and Goldschmidt interviewed several Hoonah Tlingits about the locations where they and their parents or aunts and uncles had harvested these resources in the past. Their report, "Possessory Rights of the Natives of Southeastern Alaska," stands as the best evidence available of the Hoonah Tlingits' historical use of Glacier Bay. Their informants described seal hunting practically throughout Glacier Bay and as far north on the outer coast as Lituya Bay, goat and marmot hunting in the upper reaches of Glacier Bay, gull egg collecting on the islands in Glacier Bay, berry picking around the lower sections of Glacier Bay and Excursion Inlet, trapping around Dundas Bay, and catching and smoking salmon at various locations in the monument. [23]

The Hoonah Tlingits' statements are corroborated in part by records on the issuance of trapping permits maintained by the Alaska Game Commission and by records of bounty payments to seal hunters kept by the Territorial Treasury Office. Three months after the extension of the monument on April 18, 1939, the Alaska Game Commission furnished the BIA with a list of 22 trappers from Hoonah whose applications during the trapping season of 1937-38 had indicated trapping locations within or adjacent to the new monument boundary. [24] In 1940, the Territorial Treasury Office prepared a list of bounty recipients whose reported kills were made in or near the monument. The number of seals killed between March 23, 1939 and August 22, 1940 in this area came to 1,463. [25] That the government kept records of trapper applications and bounty payments reflected the fact that these activities were not really "hidden" in the same sense that harvesting seaweed, berries, and gull eggs were unconnected to the cash economy. Trapping and seal hunting constituted grey areas in the Tlingits' mixed economy that involved cash incentives but were nonetheless quite marginal to the cash economy of southeast Alaska.

The question would arise, did Hoonah Tlingits hunt seals in Glacier Bay only for the bounty? How many seals were shot and scalped and their bodies left to rot, and what did that mean? When Been and Trager asked this question in 1939, they looked at the bounty in proportion to the total cash value of each seal. They learned from seal hunters in Hoonah that the average income from each seal came to $7.50--$3.00 for the bounty, $2.00 for the hide, and $2.50 for approximately five gallons of oil rendered from the blubber. Been was told subsequently, however, that a seal yielded about $7.00 worth of oil, and that eight pairs of moccasins could be made from a seal hide. It stood to reason that once the investment was made in killing a seal for the bounty, the hunter would be reluctant to take only its scalp and waste the rest of the animal. Nevertheless, this was seen to happen. One white resident of Dundas Bay informed Been, "Last fall a Native killed nine seals in one day up at the head of Idaho Inlet where I was trolling. He scalped all nine for the bounty, threw eight overboard and ate the liver of one." [26]

The problem can be approached in another way by comparing the numbers of seal kills reported to the Territorial Treasury Office with the amount of seal meat and seal oil consumed by the community. The Territorial Legislature had put a $2 bounty on hair seal in 1931, raising it to $3 after March 3, 1939. Total seal kills recorded by the Territorial Treasury Office are shown in Table 4.


BienniumNumber of SealsAmountBounty Each

Bounties were only paid in the First and Second Judicial Districts, or roughly along the southern coast of Alaska from Kodiak Island to Dixon Entrance. Most of the bounties were paid in the First Judicial District (southeast Alaska) for seals taken in the vicinity of Icy and Chatham straits. About 85 percent of bounty payments were made to Natives. [27] The size of these harvests and the reported concentration of kills in the vicinity of Icy Strait suggest that Natives took thousands of seals in Glacier Bay--possibly a thousand or more each year. A seal hunter from Hoonah told superintendent Been in July 1940 that many kills reported from Icy Strait actually came from Glacier Bay. [28]

These harvest figures certainly had to exceed what the Natives consumed. One seal yields about 65 pounds of meat. Based on the surveys of Hoonah made in 1943 and 1945, the amounts of seal meat consumed in those years represented something like 462 seals in 1943 and 77 seals in 1945. While these estimates could be quite low, they are given some credibility by the fact that the downward trend from 1943 to 1945 correlates with the drop in bounties paid by the Territorial Treasury Office in 1944-45.

Three preliminary conclusions about Native seal hunting seem to be in order. First, nowhere near all seals killed and collected upon were consumed--many, perhaps most, were taken only for the bounty. Second, the amount of seal hunting done only for the bounty declined as opportunities in the salmon packing industry improved; bounty hunting was not the preferred occupation. Third, the amount of seal meat consumed by the community fluctuated with the amount of seal hunting taking place, even though seal hunters were frequently motivated primarily by a need for cash from the bounty. What this suggests is that there was no distinct class of Native bounty hunters whose exploits were unconnected to the subsistence sector of the Hoonah economy; rather, Native seal hunters appear to have harvested the whole animal sometimes and taken only the scalp at other times.

Seal hunting and trapping were not the only pursuits in which the Tlingits' traditional subsistence activities became intertwined with the cash sector of their economy. Cannery jobs often determined where Tlingit women and children made their summer camps, and these encampments in turn became centers of native food gathering activity. From 1935 to 1946, several dozen Hoonah Tlingits lived intermittently in Excursion Inlet, where they caught salmon, hunted mountain goats, harvested edible plants, and secured jobs in the cannery located there. [29] Beginning in 1935, the Astoria & Puget Sound Canning Company in Excursion Inlet paid more than 100 Hoonah Tlingit men more than $100 apiece to make dock and building repairs prior to the fishing season and to dismantle the machinery and winterize the buildings when the season ended. On February 24, 1938, the Astoria & Puget Sound Canning Company wrote an illuminating letter to Spencer Shotter, a Hoonah fisherman:

For the past few years there have been more natives coming to the cannery each season until we have far more men around the camp than we can work. The union regulations also make it entirely prohibitive to use natives in trap work. We therefore wish to advise you that we will be unable to give you any work at our cannery this spring. We are also not giving out any credit until fishing season and then only to men who have made arrangements to fish on one of the boats that will be seining for us. [30]

As cannery work and commercial fishing were woven more and more into the fabric of their lives, Tlingits came to view their labor struggles with cannery owners in much the same way that they viewed the encroachments of fish traps on their fishing grounds. Whether it was jobs or fish, they wanted to protect their territories from encroachment by outsiders. Most Tlingits opposed fish traps because they believed that they themselves--not the trap owners--should be catching and selling those fish. [31] When the canneries in southeast Alaska started contracting for Chinese laborers in San Francisco, they sought to protect their cannery jobs for the same reason. The Tlingits' political leadership in the Alaska Native Brotherhood tried to insist that the canneries should employ Native women only "in the occupations of sliming, table working and machine filing"--jobs which paralleled the Tlingit women's traditional work of cleaning and smoking salmon for winter storage, but were now performed in a new setting. [32]

Fish traps and imported workers were the most overt threats to the Tlingits' resource base, but the Tlingits' desire to protect their territory gave rise to all-Native fishermen's cooperatives and labor unions, too. During the 1930s a number of labor unions sputtered to life in southeast Alaska and the Alaska Native Brotherhood strongly supported their efforts. But when the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) tried to organize cannery workers on a region-wide basis in southeast Alaska in the late 1930s, Tlingit leaders perceived this as a threat to the Alaska Native Brotherhood. The ANB responded to these unwanted overtures from the CIO by transforming its own local camps into independent bargaining agencies, and for a few years these "plant units" enjoyed considerable success in negotiating wage levels and fish prices with the packing companies. In 1940, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that these ANB-affiliated labor unions discriminated against non-Natives, since the ANB's membership was open to Natives only. The plant units thereupon affiliated themselves with the Alaska Fishermen's Cooperative Association, a non-profit organization founded by fifty Tlingits from Hoonah, Haines, Juneau, and Sitka. [33] The Alaska Native Brotherhood's role in labor organization was emblematic of the way the Tlingits' mixed economy produced a changed cultural outlook--their identity as indigenous hunters and gatherers coalesced with their identity as industrial workers.

A key element in the Hoonah Tlingits' position with regard to hunting and trapping in Glacier Bay was that they themselves did not view their mixed economy as a juxtaposition of old and new elements, but rather as a synthesis of the two. In the natural setting of Glacier Bay, when whites observed Tlingits hunting with rifles and taking only the scalp of the seal for the bounty, they saw a corruption of aboriginal Indian culture, a grafting of the artificial onto the natural in the Indians' relationship to his environment. Hoonah Tlingits had no such conception of their seal hunting. The Native hunter who was observed eating one seal liver and throwing eight other seals overboard was in all likelihood performing a ritual sign of respect to the nine seals that he had killed. The hunter might feel better when he took the animal's meat and hide as well as its scalp, but he did not feel ashamed or degraded when he chose to hunt seals for the cash.

Tlingit Possessory Rights

The Tlingit hunter's relationship to wild animals in the monument represented one problem for the Park Service; the Tlingits' relationship to the land posed another. Numerous Tlingits of Hoonah owned hunting, trapping, and fishing grounds in the area of the monument according to Tlingit tribal custom. Some of these people had smokehouses and trapper cabins which they occupied during the salmon runs or when they were running their traplines. A few had taken Native allotments. (These allotments were often separated from the owners' seasonal use areas; the allotting agents sometimes missed the intended site when they entered the legal description in the General Land Office record books.) Besides these specific property rights, most Hoonah Tlingits felt a spiritual or cultural connection to Glacier Bay drawn from their clan legends and origin myths.

In addition, all Tlingits held tribal "aboriginal rights" in Glacier Bay. Aboriginal rights were a well-established principle of federal Indian law in the United States. Recognized tribes held aboriginal title to the territory and resources that the tribe had used aboriginally until such time as the federal government extinguished this "Indian title" either by treaty or conquest. The United States government had created both Glacier Bay National Monument and the much larger Tongass National Forest without first extinguishing Indian title. In 1929, the Alaska Native Brotherhood voted to pursue tribal land claims against the federal government, and in 1935 the ANB achieved an initial success when Congress passed a jurisdictional act authorizing the "Tlingit and Haida Tribes" to bring suit against the United States in the U.S. Court of Claims. [34]

As this legal case slowly took definition in the 1930s and 1940s, it was influenced by current developments in the government's policy toward Alaska Natives, namely the creation of Indian reservations for certain groups of Indians in southeast and interior Alaska. While most white Alaskans and many Natives regarded the creation of Indian reservations in Alaska as a throwback to a discredited Indian policy of the nineteenth century, the reformist head of the BIA, John Collier (1933-1945) and Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes (1933-1946) saw Indian reservations as the most effective way to protect Alaska Native groups from further encroachment upon their resource bases. Authority for creating Indian reservations came from the Alaska Reorganization Act (1936), and required a majority vote of approval by each Indian group.

As a result of this movement to create Indian reservations, the federal government came to recognize two levels of tribal political organization in southeast Alaska: a Tlingit-Haida Central Council representing all Indians in southeast Alaska for purposes of the land claim suit, and smaller tribal divisions corresponding to the Tlingit villages or kwaans insofar as an Indian group's approval or rejection of a reservation was concerned. [35]

Both the Tlingit-Haida land claim suit and the federal government's new reservation policy were inchoate when President Roosevelt extended the boundary of Glacier Bay National Monument by proclamation on April 18, 1939. Although the Park Service was apprised that "various individuals or families among the Indians" claimed ownership of certain areas in the monument addition, it did not consider the claims to be tribal in the present political context. Arthur E. Demaray, a longtime associate director of the NPS, blithely suggested to Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier two weeks after the proclamation that all Natives displaced by the boundary extension could be compensated by "reasonable adjustments" of resource use areas claimed by other Natives elsewhere. [36]

The BIA was caught unawares by the President's proclamation. "Obviously, this Office should have been consulted before the Department approved the extension of these boundaries," Assistant Commissioner William Zimmerman, Jr. wrote to the BIA superintendent in Juneau. He continued:

Now that the extension has been made, what should we do? Can trapping areas be set aside elsewhere for these Indians? How important to their livelihood are the trapping privileges of which they will otherwise be deprived? I shall appreciate a full report.

Although I am annoyed that this Office was not consulted before the damage was done, I have no desire to make trouble for the Park Service in the administration of this area, unless the fishing and hunting privileges are vital to the particular Indians affected. [37]

Some time toward mid-October--the date is not clear--NPS and BIA officials held a conference in Zimmerman's office and agreed on some preliminary arrangements. The Indians were to be permitted continuance of "normal use" of the wildlife in the monument, with normal use being defined as the use they had made of wildlife resources in the area during recent years. This information was conveyed to coordinating Superintendent Frank T. Been at Mount McKinley, who informed the Hoonah school teacher, Wendell Cordle, of it by radiogram on October 31. Four weeks later, on November 27, Cordle sent a radiogram to his superior in Juneau asking for a clarification--Been's radiogram had authorized hunting but was silent about trapping. In Juneau the BIA's Charles W. Hawkesworth consulted with the Alaska Game Commission and advised Cordle by radiogram on November 28 that trapping was permissible too. Hawkesworth at the same time requested a reaction from Been. Been communicated directly with Washington, soliciting a letter from director Arno B. Cammerer on December 1 that sought to clarify the arrangement. According to Cammerer, he and Zimmerman had not intended to extend the Natives' privileges to trapping, for they were assuming that "the principal use by the natives has consisted in the taking of hair seals and the collecting of gull eggs." [38]

It is evident from these communications that both the BIA and the NPS continued to view the problem as something that concerned "various individuals or families among the Indians" rather than a tribal claim. Even when superintendent Been visited Hoonah in August 1939, he consulted the white school teacher and a few Tlingit seal hunters but held no meeting with Hoonah Tlingit representatives or the village at large. In the director's communication to Been, Cammerer noted that Zimmerman thought some compensation would be "desired for the Indians if they are deprived of any of their former privileges." He also directed Been to inform Cordle that the Park Service had "no intention of making any sudden change in the uses which the Indians have been accustomed to make of the monument area." But the arrangements were temporary "until a definite wildlife policy can be determined upon the basis of a field study and a substitute source of income can be provided for them." [39]

Between the fall of 1939 when top BIA and NPS officials agreed on preliminary arrangements for Native hunting in the monument, and the end of 1946 when the two agencies once again got together on this issue, important developments took place with regard to Tlingit and Haida aboriginal rights in southeast Alaska which altered the context for Hoonah Tlingit claims in Glacier Bay. These developments were set in motion by a Supreme Court decision in 1941, United States v. Santa Fe Pacific Railroad Company, which redefined Indian aboriginal rights. The court decided that 1) aboriginal occupancy established rights of possession, 2) possessory rights need not be based on treaty or statute, and 3) extinguishment of possessory rights might not be inferred from general legislation or from administrative action. [40] On the basis of this decision, Solicitor Nathan R. Margold of the Department of the Interior issued an opinion on February 13, 1942, which held that Alaska Native possessory rights extended to submerged lands, that these possessory rights had never been extinguished by the United States, and that regulations permitting control of such areas by non-Natives were unauthorized and illegal. [41]

The first change in policy to result from the solicitor's opinion was a revision of fishing regulations for the territory promulgated on March 13, 1942, prohibiting the establishment of any new fish traps where Natives had possessory rights, and allowing Natives to petition for a hearing where non-Native fishermen had occupied their aboriginal fishing grounds. [42] The Tlingits and Haidas of Klawock, Kake, and Hydaburg petitioned for hearings in the summer of 1944. As the combined claims of these three villages amounted to 3,329,000 acres and posed a threat not only to non-Native fishermen but to hopes for a pulpwood industry on the Tongass as well, the case generated wide concern in Alaska as a harbinger of the disposition of other Native claims. [43] The public's interest had already been primed by the establishment of a large Indian reservation north of the Arctic Circle in 1943 and the disclosure in 1944 of proposals for some 28 smaller reservations that would total 6,581,048 acres. [44] "The fate of Alaska hangs in the balance," wrote the editor of The Alaska Fishing News. "It must now be apparent to everyone that Secretary Ickes is planning one of the biggest land grabs ever attempted by a bureau chief." [45]

Judge Richard H. Hanna presided over the hearings in Klawock, Kake, and Hydaburg on September 15-20, 1944. He ruled in favor of the Tlingit villages, but sharply reduced their total claim to 275,000 acres. On June 10, 1946, the Department of the Interior invited more petitions from Native villages by promulgating "Rules of Procedure for Hearings upon Possessory Claims to Lands and Waters Used and Occupied by Natives of Alaska." At the same time, anticipating more claims, the Department commissioned Haas and Goldschmidt to make a study of the possessory rights of Tlingit groups in southeast Alaska. [46]

The Tlingits of Hoonah never petitioned for a hearing nor did they indicate much support for a reservation. At the time, however, there was still a significant amount of momentum in Washington toward the establishment of Indian reservations in Alaska. Haas apprised NPS officials in December 1946 of what he and Goldschmidt had determined to be the possessory rights of the Hoonah Tlingits, and a copy of their report was put in the Park Service director's hands two months later. Chief Counsel Jackson E. Price advised Director Newton B. Drury that the Natives' possessory rights appeared to be a matter of "primary importance," and that the Park Service needed to stay abreast of "future deliberations by the the end that our interests will not be overlooked." [47]

Haas and Goldschmidt described three areas in the monument where the Tlingits could claim possessory rights. These were:

1. The lands at the head of Excursion Inlet, and along the streams at its head for a distance of five miles.

2. The shores of Glacier Bay from the north to the head, subject to the restrictions on its use in accordance with the regulations of the National Park Service.

3. The east portion of Dundas Bay and the land area between Glacier Bay and Dundas Bay.

Taylor Bay and the outer coast from Cape Spencer to Cape Fairweather fell within the aboriginal territory of the Hoonah Tlingits, but were not included among the lands still in use. [48]

One finding by Haas and Goldschmidt that might have surprised any NPS official familiar with the informal agreement reached in 1939 was the fact that many Hoonah Tlingits felt they had been forced out of the monument. The authors reported how several of their informants referred to Glacier Bay as "the Hoonah breadbasket" or "the main place for the Hoonah people," and went on to relate how they had been run out of the area in recent years. "Their summary expulsion remains a matter of concern and disappointment to the natives," the authors wrote. [49]

It seems unlikely that any arrests of Tlingits were made by NPS officials in these years, for certainly any such incidents would have been reported by Been or the custodian at Sitka, Ben C. Miller. Rather, it was white residents in the area who took the extension of the monument in 1939 as their cue to wreck Tlingit property and drive the Natives away with gunshots. The Tlingits invariably associated these actions with the Park Service. For example, two old Natives lived on Drake Island in Glacier Bay where the Dakdentan clan had a fort and palisade. A resident fox farmer ran the old couple off the island and tore down these structures. When the Tlingits protested, he told them the government had given him permission. [50]

This may not have been far from the truth. There is no record of NPS officials telling white residents that Natives were no longer permitted to hunt, fish, or reside in the monument, but neither is there any evidence that they tried to protect the Natives' property or privileges. Indeed, Cammerer told Been to give the Natives' privileges "as little publicity as possible." [51] Meanwhile, the words and deeds of local whites clearly show that they intended to run the Natives out of the monument, and it appears that they were never disabused of that idea in their contacts with the Park Service. [52] A game warden whom the NPS deputized in 1944-45 to patrol the monument remarked that one of these residents, a trapper in Dundas Bay named Buck Harbeson, had "instilled a healthy respect for the law in many would-be poachers in his vicinity, and has acquired a reputation among the Indians of the Icy Straits area, that is legend." [53] In 1948, the NPS custodian in Sitka, Grant Pearson, was even more blunt when he reported that Harbeson had sent several parties of Natives "on their way at the point of a gun. If that is true, he is undoubtedly an asset to that area." [54]

The NPS had begun looking for a way to rescind its agreement with the BIA within a year of the extension of the monument. [55] In a meeting in early April 1940 between the Park Service, the Biological Survey, and the Alaska Game Commission, the latter's executive officer Frank Dufresne had questioned whether the privileges accorded the Hoonah Tlingits were legal. Dufresne had alleged that Tlingits sometimes took eider duck eggs in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and he had noted that the allowance of seal hunting in the monument by Natives would breed resentment among whites. [56] This latter consideration especially concerned field agents of the Biological Survey (reorganized as the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1944), and when the Park Service arranged for Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) wardens to patrol the waters of the monument in October 1944, they responded with zeal. [57] Clay Scudder, the head of the FWS office in Juneau, advised two Hoonah Tlingits that if any man was caught in Glacier Bay with traps on his boat, even if hunting hair seals, the traps could be confiscated and the owner fined. Moreover, traps that were stored in the Natives' cabins within the monument would be confiscated. [58] FWS wardens made "three or four" arrests of Hoonah Tlingits for "hunting and trapping in the Glacier Bay area" during the winter of 1945-46, which left many Hoonah Tlingits confused as to what they could or could not do in the monument. [59]

Hoonah Tlingits were dismayed as well by the marked increase in wolves and coyotes and resulting decrease in deer and mountain goats in the southern portion of the monument. Natives and whites alike attributed these changes to the national park policy of predator protection. As erroneous as that was (wolves and coyotes were then increasing all over Alaska), it contributed to the Hoonah Tlingits' sense of displacement from Glacier Bay. "It is hard for us people to understand why we should obey the law as the coyotes and wolves got no law and kill everything," Frank Sinclair said. "If Glacier Bay National Monument had not been established and the Hoonah people stopped from hunting in that area, we would have killed off all of the wolves and coyotes and would have still been able to go there and get wild goats this year." [60] Willie Ross stated, "There used to be a lot of ground hogs and porcupines, red fox in this area and throughout the monument. Since it was established, they have been killed out [sic] by the wolves and coyotes which the people are not allowed to kill on the monument grounds, but outside that area they are paid a bounty for killing them." Similar statements were made by Albert Greenewald, Mrs. Lonnie Houston, Mrs. Oscar Williams, and Mrs. Eliza Lawrence. [61]

Hoonah Tlingits wanted a reaffirmation and clarification of their rights in the monument. Could they hunt deer and goats, or seals only? Could they smoke salmon and pick berries? Were their cabins, smokehouses, and stowed traps safe? Were they to be deprived of their trapping grounds in the monument? BIA superintendent Don C. Foster relayed these concerns to Secretary Ickes on January 29, 1946, with an additional query that seemed to indicate that the issue of trapping had never been resolved between the NPS and the BIA after all: were the Natives' traplines, he wondered, protected under the proclamation of April 18, 1939, which had extended the area of the monument "subject to valid existing rights"? [62]

As the 1946 fishing season unfolded, the people of Hoonah seemed to be experiencing scarcity and privation on every hand. First the H.M. Parks Company closed its clam cannery in May when the Pure Food and Drug Administration found toxicity in the clams. The cannery had paid the people of Hoonah approximately $67,000 in cash since the first of the year. Then the fishing season developed into the worst in twenty years, the Icy Strait Packing Company in Hoonah producing a little more than half the number of cases as the previous year. Many Hoonah fishermen could not make the annual payments on their fishing boats. The shortfall was made worse by the fact that most Hoonah families had lost their homes in a large fire at the end of 1944, and were now two years later preparing to make down payments on new government-built houses. It was noted that the seal population had risen during the past two years as seal hunting had fallen off, offering one source of cash with which the Natives could make up some of the shortfall left by the dismal salmon harvest. [63]

Haas raised the subject of Hoonah Tlingits and Glacier Bay in a meeting on Alaska problems held in Washington on November 21, 1946. This led to a meeting between BIA and NPS officials on December 10-11 in which a memorandum of agreement was drafted and later endorsed by both agencies on December 18, 1946. Neither the agreement nor the minutes of the meeting were found in NPS files, but the gist of the agreement was contained in a letter from the BIA's Walter V. Woehlke to Director Drury on December 16, 1946. [64] "After considering the needs of the Natives in relation to the existing regulations and the problems of law enforcement, the following recommendations were advanced for your consideration," Woehlke wrote.

1. That the carrying of firearms for human protection be allowed under permit within the Monument during the berry-picking seasons, the procedure for the issuance of firearms to be worked out.

2. That the Natives be permitted to hunt hair seals from the shore within a distance of not to exceed 100 feet from the water line.

3. That these modifications of the Park Service regulations shall continue in effect until 1950 at which time the Park Service and the Indian Service will review the Glacier Bay Monument conditions to determine whether the facts warrant a continuation of the practices or their modification.

NPS officials later maintained that Hoonah's economic straits after World War II weighed more heavily than the community's possessory rights in the decision to authorize Native seal hunting in the monument. This questionable interpretation of the agreement of December 18, 1946, placed an implied burden of proof on the Hoonah Tlingits to demonstrate continuing economic need each time the agreement came due for reconsideration. Yet the Park Service also acknowledged that the Tlingits had some sort of moral claim to the area based on historical use and cultural ties. [65] Thus NPS officials would struggle with this issue over and over, working back through the tangle of legal, cultural, and economic factors that had formed the basis of the agreement in the first place. And to these, after 1947, could be added biological factors, too. Were the populations of seals, sea birds, and other fauna at risk?

The Ecology of Seal Hunting

It had been the Park Service's desire to approach the problem of Native hunting in the monument from a biological standpoint. To do so was to frame the problem according to the Park Service's terms, to apply standards that were relative to the NPS mandate of wildlife protection, to balance the legal and anthropological expertise of the BIA with the biological expertise of the NPS's own Wildlife Division. Tentative plans were made for biologist Victor H. Cahalane to visit Glacier Bay during the summer of 1940, but the trip did not materialize. Budget constraints during World War II subsequently prevented the Park Service from fielding a biologist in Glacier Bay until the summer of 1945. [66]

Landscape architect A.C. Kuehl and biologist Lowell Sumner, both on the staff of the NPS regional office in San Francisco, made brief reconnaissances of Glacier Bay in 1945 and 1946. Neither was present at the meeting between the NPS and the BIA on December 10-11, 1946 in Washington, where Cahalane spoke for the NPS biologists. But when Drury requested the regional office to devise appropriate regulations, they expressed qualms. With regional naturalist Dorr G. Yeager they reviewed a reel of movie footage that Kuehl had shot of the seal herds, and persuaded regional director O.A. Tomlinson that the allowance of firearms in the monument would endanger the seal population as well as the monument's populations of mountain goat and bear. Tomlinson then wrote to Drury:

While we admittedly are not familiar with what pressure may have been exerted to bring this action about, we are frank to say that we believe the subject is worthy of further consideration. It is probably too late to rescind the decision without embarrassment, but we believe a thorough investigation of the situation should be made before the agreement is extended beyond 1950. [67]

Meanwhile, Tomlinson assigned Lowell Sumner the duty of formulating precise regulations and recommendations to cover the hunting privileges of Hoonah Tlingits in Glacier Bay National Monument.

Sumner's cursory investigation and subsequent report of August 5, 1947 reflected the NPS's strong predisposition to ban Native hunting in the monument. Sumner's few days in Glacier Bay in late June allowed only a brief appraisal of the effects of Native hunting and egg collecting on the animal populations in the monument, much less a reliable assessment of population sizes and trends of the various species that most concerned the NPS. The biologist probed into the inlets of the upper bay in search of hair seals, scanned the slopes of Mount Wright for mountain goats, and landed on North Marble Island to inspect bird colonies. His contacts with Hoonah seal hunters were minimal. His report contained a scant seven pages of text. Nevertheless, it was a strongly-worded condemnation of the present policy of allowing the people of Hoonah certain privileges in the monument. Tomlinson gave Sumner's report his full support. In a cover letter to Drury he wrote, "We have considered this question carefully and have completed a study of the biological problems involved." Kuehl jotted on the file copy, "Excellent report." [68]

But the report was flawed in many respects. As a biological study, it reached conclusions about animal population trends based on ludicrously inadequate field data. "The National Park Service inspection party of 1947 made a special effort to count the seal population of Glacier Bay," Sumner wrote, "but only a dozen were found, as compared with the scores observed at close range the preceding year. The animals were much wilder and more secretive than previously." Not only did Sumner draw hasty conclusions from this "count," but he implied that changes in the seals' observed behavior from one year to the next demonstrated increased hunting pressure. Sumner made similarly cavalier judgments when he inspected glaucous-winged gull rookeries on North Marble Island. "Great crowds of gulls stood at empty nests," he wrote afterwards, "displaying the listlessness that characteristically settles upon a bird colony a few days after it has been robbed." Again, noting that he had observed not one mountain goat where goats had been conspicuous in past years, he wrote: "it is likely that some seal-hunting natives, knowing themselves to be completely unsupervised, are in the habit of adding the mountain goats of Mt. Wright, which borders Muir Inlet, to their meat supply." [69] This judgment seems particularly egregious in view of the fact that wolf predation was known to have increased in the area, a point that Sumner did not consider. [70]

Sumner's nine-day field study of the ecological consequences of Native hunting in Glacier Bay might have been contrasted to the NPS's excellent two-year field study of the wolf in Mount McKinley National Park by Adolph Murie in 1939-41. In that study, Murie sought to situate the effects of wolf predation on Dall sheep within a complex web of other predator-prey relationships and historical and environmental factors influencing the park's fauna. [71] The marked contrast between these two investigations, which was completely overlooked at the time, shows the bias with which NPS officials approached Native hunting--even from a supposedly objective biological perspective. The comparison also suggests that the inadequacy of the Glacier Bay study cannot be attributed solely to budgetary constraints.

Sumner did not limit himself to biological assessments, but reserved his strongest opinions for the section of his report on "Aboriginal Hunting Territory and Customs of the Natives." Sumner reached two conclusions, both of which showed a callous, prejudiced attitude. In the first place, the Indians' aboriginal claims to the present seal hunting grounds in Tarr, Johns Hopkins, and Muir inlets were fallacious, Sumner argued, because these areas had been glacier-covered and inaccessible "to the remote ancestors of the Hoonah Indians." [72] Sumner recognized, of course, that seals congregated on icebergs at the fronts of glaciers, and that seal hunting grounds of one hundred or two hundred years ago in Glacier Bay now consisted of open water far from the glacier fronts, and were therefore now devoid of seals. Nevertheless he argued that the NPS could legitimately prohibit seal hunting in the critical habitat areas at the upper end of the bay, since these areas were definitely not the same geographic areas where Natives had hunted seals in earlier times. This was indeed a cynical exercise of logic, yet Tomlinson found the argument persuasive and Drury took it under advisement when Sumner explained it to them at a regional office staff meeting in July. [73] Sumner did not address the fact, if he was even aware of it, that Haas and Goldschmidt had indicated that Hoonah possessory rights ought to extend the full length of Glacier Bay.

Sumner's second, equally flawed conclusion about aboriginal rights in the monument was that the valid exercise of these rights depended on the continued use of aboriginal hunting technology. "In aboriginal times, native hunters traveled slowly and with effort in giant war canoes hollowed from spruce tree logs. They hunted with bows and flint or bone-tipped arrows," Sumner wrote. "Today the native hunters travel swiftly and easily over long distances in modern gasoline or diesel-powered fishing boats, and shoot the seals with high-powered rifles." Sumner ignored the historical continuity that underlay Tlingit cultural change. Few Tlingits would have agreed with Sumner's point that they had "forsaken their ancestral way of life." [74]

Sumner also questioned the importance of Glacier Bay seal hunting in the Hoonah economy. "The natives today," he wrote, "depend neither upon seals nor berries for their living. Fishing and trapping are their principal sources of revenue and these activities are carried on with the same modern equipment, and on the same commercial basis, as is done by the whites." This was a legitimate concern inasmuch as Natives and the BIA had argued the case for special hunting rights partly in light of short-term economic hardships in 1946. Sumner failed to acknowledge that this was not a biological but a sociological issue, however, in which the focus shifted from animal populations to the Hoonah economy. He was quick to jump to conclusions, mistakenly assuming, for example, that the Natives' use of glass fruit jars indicated that they no longer preserved wild berries in seal oil. [75]

Sumner's report was influential. In Washington, NPS officials consulted the FWS and the Alaska Section of the Division of Territories and Island Possessions on a way to rescind the agreement. The following January, Assistant Director Hillory A. Tolson informed Tomlinson that the NPS would recommend this action to the secretary of the interior on two grounds. "We would cite the depletion of hair seals as observed by National Park Service employees during the summer of 1947 and we would also point out that the natives have been observed in the act of infringing on the privileges which have been extended to them in the Monument." One of these infractions was the arrest of three Hoonah Tlingits for possession of traps back in March 1946; the other was Sumner's reported identification of a non-regulation .22 caliber rifle in the hands of a Native on June 25, 1947, as the latter boarded his boat in North Sandy Cove and sped away. [76] Drury finally laid the matter before Secretary of the Interior Julius Krug on May 5, 1948. [77]

Meanwhile, the people of Hoonah made NPS regulations in Glacier Bay the main subject of discussion with Assistant Secretary William E. Warne when he visited Hoonah on a tour of southeast Alaska Native villages, coincidentally on May 5 also. Mayor Harry Douglas recounted for Warne the evolution of NPS strictures and Native privileges in the monument. It is unclear whether Douglas misunderstood the record or Warne garbled what the mayor had said in his notes of the meeting, but in either event the impression was given that the people of Hoonah were as confused, frustrated, and displeased by the current situation as anyone. Warne and another assistant secretary reiterated the Department's support of Hoonah privileges in Glacier Bay by letters of July 26 and August 26, 1948. Meanwhile, Secretary Krug requested the NPS, the BIA, and the FWS to meet with the people of Hoonah and reach a new understanding. Although a subsequent meeting took place in Hoonah in September, most of the village population was absent and the NPS's representative, Custodian Grant H. Pearson, stated simply that "the Hoonah meeting was not a success." [78]

By now fully two years had elapsed since the memorandum of agreement between the BIA and the NPS of December 18, 1946, and Drury decided on a different tack, looking to acquire more information with which to evaluate the situation when it came up for reconsideration in 1950. After highlighting the need for wildlife protection and law enforcement in Glacier Bay National Monument in his annual report for 1949, Drury suggested to Tomlinson that a wildlife investigation of the monument was "long overdue," and asked whether wildlife biologist Adolph Murie could be assigned to it. Tomlinson answered that Murie could not afford to take time away from his ongoing wolf study in Mount McKinley National Park until perhaps the following summer, but a seasonal ranger could provide valuable information in the interim. Consequently, the western region scrounged $8,000 with which to reassign one seasonal ranger from Yosemite to Glacier Bay for the summer of 1950. [79] Ranger Duane Jacobs's sojourn in Bartlett Cove that summer represented the first on-site administration of Glacier Bay National Monument. With this assignment, the NPS's approach to Native hunting changed from biological investigation to law enforcement.

Ranger Jacobs' report at the end of the season presented much evidence of poaching. With the assistance of FWS warden Lynn Crosby and an FWS boat, Jacobs spent approximately half his working days patrolling monument waters and investigating trapper cabins around Excursion Inlet and Dundas Bay, where deer heads, goat feet, and other scattered refuse showed that the cabins had been recently occupied for hunting and trapping. On one occasion while patrolling Dundas Bay, Jacobs and Crosby heard rifle shots and tried to intercept eight Natives in an outboard as they returned to their fishing boat from the shore. The Natives reached the boat first and as Jacobs and Crosby pulled alongside one of the Natives stood intimidatingly on top of the pilot house. Jacobs spied a seal hide and a gun before they had been fully stowed, but he was too uncertain of his authority to try to board the boat without a search warrant. [80]

Jacobs consulted the office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Juneau regarding jurisdiction for Natives charged with a felony and the likelihood of obtaining convictions for Natives charged with a misdemeanor. "It was generally agreed that violators should be prosecuted in Juneau if possible," Jacobs reported, "in order to keep them away from the native officials in Hoonah, where our chances of securing convictions and penalties would be greatly lessened." To protect the monument adequately, Jacobs concluded, the NPS would either need a float plane or a small force of rangers working in pairs and equipped with fast boats, and the rangers would need authority to board boats without search warrants, because it was generally necessary to seize items for evidence in order to prosecute game law violators. [81]

The purpose of Jacobs's assignment to Glacier Bay National Monument in 1950 was to establish a Park Service presence in the monument and gather information on Native use of the area for the anticipated discussions with BIA officials at the end of the year. [82] As it turned out, the level of protection that Jacobs described in his report would not be attained for practically another decade, while the ranger cabin which Jacobs established in Bartlett Cove would be occupied only intermittently for a few years in the mid-1950s. Meanwhile, no meeting with BIA officials took place, and the memorandum of agreement simply lapsed. The legality of Native hunting in the monument was ambiguous after November 1, 1950.

Hoonah Tlingits were outraged when they first learned of this situation in the summer of 1951. Ranger Oscar T. Dick, who transferred from Mount Rainier to Sitka and the monument's first permanent ranger position in the spring of that year, made six patrols of monument waters on the NPS boat, M/V Nunatak, between June and October. Dick issued warnings to two Hoonah crab fishermen who were using seal carcasses for bait. In the second incident Dick told the man, Ed Metjay, that it was now illegal for Hoonah Tlingits to take seals within the monument. Metjay reportedly responded, "You pay me, I no shoot." When Dick went to Hoonah for supplies a few days later he found "the entire town up in arms." People told him that they thought "the permit allowed them to hunt for all time." Dick's supervisor, Ben C. Miller of Sitka National Monument, figured that the Hoonahs were "aware of the expiration date of the permit," and that this assertion was "one of the many alibis" they would use when caught. Ranger Dick appeared to be confused and tongue-tied himself at the end of the season; he recommended "that the aboriginal rights of the Hoonah Indians be reviewed and the findings made public as a means of conveyance for the enforcement of the rule and regulations pertaining to them [sic]." [83]

The BIA was no help to the Hoonah Tlingits at this time. The administration was in the process of recanting its earlier position on Native claims and reservations in Alaska, with Secretary of the Interior Oscar Chapman telling Congress that he opposed a policy that would "divide up Alaska into a lot of tight little empires, where only the people of one village are allowed to fish and hunt." [84] The BIA even endorsed a bill in 1949 that would have revoked the Alaska Game Law's special provisions for Natives. [85] It seems that no one in the BIA considered the problem of Hoonah hunting rights in Glacier Bay again until 1954.

The extent of Native use of Glacier Bay--and the importance of Glacier Bay resources to Hoonah's "hidden" economy--are practically impossible to infer from the scant historical record during this period. Ranger Dick reported no violations in 1952, and Custodian Ben C. Miller's master plan of that year did not even broach the subject, which suggests that NPS officials assumed Native use was minimal and fading. Yet the issue obviously would not have resurfaced in 1954 had there not been considerable agitation for it by the people of Hoonah. [86]

On February 19, 1954, Regional Director Lawrence C. Merriam instructed Superintendent Henry G. Schmidt to confer with the BIA's Juneau Area Office. Schmidt met with Charles H. Jones of the BIA and Daniel H. Ralston of the FWS, and the three agreed that "some method of control in the taking of hair seal in Glacier Bay is necessary and compatable [sic] with the over-all enforcement picture in Southeastern Alaska." Schmidt and Jones continued the discussion with Mayor Harry Douglas in Hoonah, where all agreed that the "continued use" of resources in Glacier Bay by Natives of Hoonah was a "fair and logical solution to the problem, under present conditions." Schmidt and Jones then drafted recommendations for the director of the NPS and the commissioner of Indian affairs. The agreement essentially followed the agreement of December 18, 1946, except that seal hunters had to obtain permits on an individual basis, and the permits, as well as the agreement, would expire at the end of 1955, subject to review and renewal. [87] This agreement was renewed without any changes in 1956, 1958, and 1960. In June 1960, Superintendent L.J. Mitchell informed the city clerk of Hoonah that her services for issuing seal hunting permits were no longer required, since the Park Service could now issue the permits from its permanent ranger station at Bartlett Cove. [88] How the Hoonah Tlingits eventually lost their privileges in Glacier Bay will be treated in Chapter X.

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Last Updated: 24-Sep-2000