The Tlingit quietly left the sapling fort during the night, even though the fort construction would allow the propelled Russian cannonballs to give under the pressure. It had been a six-day siege on the Tlingit stronghold near Indian River, but the Tlingits were low on gunpowder. They would then walk across the island in an event now known as what Herb Hope, Kiks.adi elder, would describe as, “… a survival march through our own back yard to a planned destination.”
In 1804, the Tlingit Kiks.adi clan fought a key battle against invading Russian forces at the mouth of Indian River. The Kiks.adi Pole is a memorial to those Kiks.adi people who lost their lives in the conflict. It is named after K’alyaan, the legendary warrior who led the battle.
The top figure on the pole is Raven, representing the whole of the Raven moiety. The figures below are Raven clan crests. From the top to the bottom, they are:
- sockeye salmon (with its spots that show up when spawning),
- dog salmon (with its crooked snout that develops during spawning),
- and frog.
The bottom figure represents the Raven helmet worn by K’alyaan during battle.
This totem was commissioned by Kiks.adi leader Al Perkins and carved in 1999 by Tlingit Tommy Joseph with assistant carver Fred Beltran at the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural center. It was raised on the site of the historic Kiks.adi fort with the help of the Sitka community.
Following the memorial ceremonies marking its dedication, the pole was given to the Park by the Kiks.adi in memory of their ancestors of long ago … who fought the battle that marked the last major Native resistance in Sitka to European domination in Alaska.