Xunaa - "Protected from the North Wind"
Hoonah is the only first-class city on Chichagof Island and the 5th largest island in the United States. Incorporated in 1946 as the City of Hoonah, it began as a Tlingit village, given then name Xunaa because it was a safe haven, protected from the North Wind. In In 1754, the Huna Tlingit people permanently settled twenty miles south of Glacier Bay, to Hoonah where they subsistence-harvested each summer. Located in Alaska's panhandle in the southeast region of the state, Hoonah has mild winters and rainy summers. It is 40 miles west of Juneau, across the Alaskan Inside Passage.
More than 250 species of waterfowl, shorebirds and common birds inhabit this area. Hoonah Harbor is a prime spot for viewing bald eagles.
Chichagof Island has the largest Brown bear population in the world, approximately three per square mile! Sitka black-tail deer, land otter, marten, beaver, mink, and red squirrel may also be observed.
WHALES AND MARINE MAMMALS
Whale sightings are common from shore. In the summer of 2007, a record 161 individual humpback whales were identified near Hoonah in the Point Adolphus-Glacier Bay area. Other aquatic mammals near Hoonah include orcas (killer whales), sea lion, porpoise, sea otter, and seal.
The current sport-caught record-holding coho weighing 26 pounds was caught here in Icy Strait. And speaking of records, just around the corner from Hoonah, a 440-pound world-record halibut was caught.
Freshwater fishing is also superb. Streams abound in season with cutthroat and rainbow trout, dolly varden, char and steelhead, as well as salmon.
Alaska sport fishing regulations can be found on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game site.
CARVING and TOTEM SITES
Locally carved canoes and totem poles - wooden monuments depicting Tlingit history, legends and culture - can be found at several locations in the community.
The Huna Tribal House Carving Project is housed in a light blue warehouse in the middle of town, across from the ANB Hall. The carvers created house poles, screens and totems that now adorn the Tribal House. The Tribal House is located at Bartlett Cove in Glacier Bay National Park, which began construction in early 2014. The dedication ceremony took place in August 2016 and included these carvings, canoes and paddles which were created in Hoonah.
There are two totem poles in town: one between the Misty Bay Lodge and Huna Outfitters & Cafe, and one in the creek in the middle of town between the Carving Shed and Colette's Cupboard.
The Hoonah City Schools also has two totems in front of the school.