All about Ketchikan, Volume 4.
There are three groups of native people who live in this area, in and around Ketchikan, Metlakatla, and on several other islands here in the Alexander Archipelago.
“The Tsimshian were relatively late arrivals to Southeast Alaska. For thousands of years, the islands of the Alexander Archipelago had been primarily the territory of the Tlingit [prounounced clink-it]. (A third group, the Haida, arrived from the south in the eighteenth century. … Tlingit society at the start of the nineteenth century was made up of approximately sixteen tribes, called kwaan.” – Mark Adams, A Tip of the Iceberg.
“The Tlingit, originally fourteen tribes, spoke a language related to the Athabascan Indians of the interior and occupies the coast of Alaska from Yakutat Bay down to the Prince of Wales Island. Ther were pushing the Eskimo off Kayak Island in the beginning of European contacts and had begun to enter the Copper River.
The Haida, who spoke a similar language, yet one which differed somewhat from that of the Tlingit, lived on the coastal areas of the Queen Charlotte Island and the southern part of the Prince of Wales Island in Alaska.
The Tsimshian lives on the mainland from the Nass to the Skeena River and down to the area which is the modern city of Prince Rupert.” – H.R. Hays, Children of the Raven
These are the three native nations of Southeast Alaska. Two others – the Inuit, to the North, and the Aleuts, to the West – call Alaska home. The common belief is that native populations of Alaska (and the rest of the Americas) arrived across a landbridge.
“The easiest way to get here is on foot. The Bering Land Bridge has been the longstanding theory because that’s the clearest connection between Asia and North America, up in the Arctic, and it only appears when ice is locked up on land and sea levels drop. It’s the only place where you could walk from one side to the other.” – National Geographic