The Kake War of 1869 was a US Army altercation with the Tlingit Indians of southeast Alaska. In this conflict, the Army's gunship attacked three Kéex' Kwáan Tlingit civilian villages in midwinter, although no active Tlingit resistance was mounted. The Army's intention was to allow starvation and nature's elements to kill the Tlingit survivors of the attack. The conflict transpired fifteen months after Russia sold Alaska to the United States and as the US Army was dispatched to Alaska to oversee its resources, lands, and indigenous population—an undertaking resisted by the Tlingit Indians. In part, the conflict transpired because the two nations, the United States and the Tlingit people, refused to acknowledge each other's claims to Alaskan land and legal systems. A study of the Kake War documents the role of indigenous legal systems in dealing with governing officials, issues of transnational contacts between indigenous people and colonial governments, the dynamic decisions that native leaders made in difficult situations, and the importance of indigenous oral histories in documenting the past.
Research Article| January 01 2013
Zachary R. Jones; “Search for and Destroy”: US Army Relations with Alaska's Tlingit Indians and the Kake War of 1869. Ethnohistory 1 January 2013; 60 (1): 1–26. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-1816157
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