Hoonah (Xunaa in Tlingit) is a Tlingit community on Chichagof Island, located in Alaska's panhandle in the southeast region of the state. It is 30 miles west of Juneau, across the Alaskan Inside Passage. Hoonah is the only first-class city on Chichagof Island, the 109th largest island in the world and the 5th largest island in the United States. At the 2000 census the population was 860, though summer population can swell to over 1300 depending on fishing, boating, hiking and hunting conditions. Hoonah became the official spelling in 1901, with establishment of the Hoonah branch of the United States Post Office. X'una means "village by the cliff" or "place protected from the North Wind" in the Tlingit language.
Legend tells of an original home of the Huna in Glacier Bay that was destroyed by a glacial advance, at which time many Huna moved to the location of present-day Hoonah.
A partial timeline of modern Hoonah history is below:
The officers killed in the incident were: Officer Matthew D. Tokuoka, 39 and Sgt. Anthony M. Wallace, 32. Tokuoka was a former Marine who served in special operations; Wallace was a former All-American collegiate wrestler and one of only a handful of legally-deaf police officers in the United States. Police identified the alleged lone gunman as John Marvin Jr., 45, a local resident with a lengthy criminal record. Marvin was arrested after a 2-day standoff and charged with 2 counts of 1st degree murder and other charges arising from the incident. The murders of the two officers in the 4-officer agency was the highest per capita loss of lives for police in modern Alaska history. Over 1100 citizens and peace officers from all over Alaska, the U.S. mainland and Canada attended the slain officer's funeral, along with Governor Sean Parnell and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski. The service was the largest officer funeral in Alaska police history and the largest gathering in the history of Hoonah. The State of Alaska provided an extra ferry and charged no fee for those attending the funeral.
Education & Schools
Sheldon Jackson established the first school house & teacher's residence in November 1881. The school was initially overseen by Mr. and Mrs. Walter B. Styles of New York until their transfer to Sitka in 1882. The Reverend and Mrs. John McFarland assumed responsibility for the school in 1884 and by 1885 219 Tlingit students were enrolled, 69, boys, 76 girls and 74 adults. A Territorial school and Government school were built in 1923. In 1932 the Government school was demolished and replaced by a Bureau of Indian Affairs school.
Hoonah City Schools currently serves the needs of Hoonah's elementary and secondary students. Nine graduating seniors made up Hoonah City Schools class of 2013.
Hoonah Packing Company
Hoonah Packing Company ("HPC") built in 1912 was one of eight canneries operating in the area during the early twentieth century, representing Hoonah's major industry at the time. HPC was sold several times until coming to be owned by Wards Cove Packing which also owned Hoonah Trading. The Cannery ceased operating in 1954, but continued to see use by commercial fishermen for storing and repairing their boats and gear.