LOOKING BOTH WAYS: Heritage and Identity of the Alutiiq People of Southern Alaska

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Nuchek (Núciq)

Nuchek was home to Alutiiq residents until 1928 when Peter Chimovitski, the last chief of the village, died and his family moved to Cordova. Makari Chimovitski, the chief's younger brother, passed on many stories about the history of the village and about the people of Prince William Sound.

Konstantinovskii Redoubt, built at Nuchek on Hinchinbrook Island in 1793, became the most important Russian trading post in the area. After 1867, Nuchek remained a fur-trading center under American companies like the Alaska Commercial Company. In fact, William Fisher was the Alaska Commercial Company's station agent at Nuchek in 1889-91 where he obtained everyday objects from Nuchek and other Chugach Alutiiq villages for the Smithsonian Institution.

While no one lives at Nuchek today, each year the Chugach Heritage Foundation brings young people from the region to participate in Núciq Spirit Camp. Through history lectures and traditional activities, participants learn about the lives of their ancestors at Núciq village.

Some believe that, in the future, Alutiiq people will return to Nuchek to live. As John Johnson, the great grandnephew of Peter Chimovitski, has said: "It is through [Peter Chimovitski's] spirit that I dream that someday soon the resettlement of Nuchek will be a reality, where the sound of a proud race of men, women and children can be heard . and that the final chapter of the history of Nuchek will never be written."

Drawing of Nuchek village as it appeared in about 1885. Courtesy of Alaska State Library, Alaska Purchase Centennial Commission, PCA 20-Neg. #C-134.

Nuchek, circa 1888. Sealskin stretchers rest against this Chugach log house which has a bark and grass-covered roof. Courtesy of the Alaska State Library, PCA 27-60.

Chief and his family at Nuchek, circa 1909. Courtesy of the National Archives, RG75 E823.

Makari Chimovitski, 1933. His Alutiiq name was Alingun Nupatlkerlugoq Angakhuna. After the smallpox epidemic at Nuchek in the early 1900's, Chief Chimovitski founded Makaka Point where he took many children whose parents had died of smallpox at Nuchek. Courtesy of the Cordova Historical Society, 83-4-2.

Matrona Chimovitski Tiedeman, daughter of Makari Chimovitski, in 1933. She was married to a German fisherman and fox farmer. Courtesy of the Cordova Historical Society, 83-4-3.

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