Yandeist’akyé, faraway stuff drifts ashore (Yindastuki)

This Jilkoot Lukaax.ádi village (thumbnail, right) occupied the bluff above today’s airport. Clan houses were still standing when I first saw it in the 1980s. Today it’s a lush jungle of midden-fertilized herbs and berry bushes.

Yandeist’akyé was an imperious gateway to Greater Chilkat Watershed in days before Muir & Young’s sojourn tempered attitudes toward glacio-christian evangelists, and less conciliatory seekers of fur and gold who followed them. (Henry, Across the shaman’s river, 2017). Visitors must indeed have felt like flotsam in the presence of such conspicuous wealth.

In the 1980s and early 90s I made many trips to the airport area, in all seasons, to study a runway expansion with consulting hydrologist Dan Bishop. The evolution of Sawmill Creek, originally just a sidechannel of Jilkáat, cache (Chilkat River), was a great example of the utility of historical overlays, in those days traced with rapidograph and opaque projector. Today, we do it with mouse and keyboard.