Home of Xóots

Although this hundred-mile long island is not named for an individual, I’ve long thought of it as the ultimate IWGN (important white guy name), honoring a whole roomful of IWGs (the British Admiralty).  At least its tallest summit—Eagle Peak, 4650 feet, thumbnail, right) escaped being named for another bureaucrat who never saw it.

East across Eey Tlein, big tidal currents (Kootznahoo Inlet), behind Aangóon, isthmus town (Angoon).

Tree size and logging in Xutsnoowú Province. Relatively small fraction of the original large-tree forest (dark green) has been cut.

By the way, in the interests of equal-opportunity place-name debunking, consider this quote from Harold Jacobs, in a chapter called Xoodzidaa Kwáan; inhabitants of the burning wood fort. (Will the time ever come? Hope & Thornton, eds, 2000). Note that x and x-underlined are pronounced differently:

“The name Xootsnoowú (“Brown Bear Fort”) is sometimes wrongly interpreted as the name for Angoon Kwáan, this having been done by people who, my informants have told me, ‘Do not have a great command of the language or the history of the area.’

Actually, the name comes from xoodzi, (which is burning wood or charred remains) not xoots (brown bear). This confusion with xoots has led to the misnomer, however widely accepted it may be, that the name of the territory means ‘Brown Bears’ Fort.’ It is in fact the Burning Wood Fort. Xootsnoowú, however, is a descriptive name that is often applied to
Admiralty Island.”

In this section

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