Hoonah (Tlingit: Xunaa) is a largely Tlingit community on Chichagof Island, located in Alaska's panhandle in the southeast region of the state. It is 30 miles (48 km) west of Juneau, across the Alaskan Inside Passage. Hoonah is the only first-class city on Chichagof Island, the 109th-largest island in the world and the 5th-largest island in the U.S.. At the 2010 census the population was 760, down from 860 at the 2000 census. In the summer the population can swell to over 1,300 depending on fishing, boating, hiking and hunting conditions.
"Hoonah" became the official spelling in 1901, with establishment of the Hoonah branch of the United States Post Office. "Hoonah" is the approximate pronunciation of the Tlingit name Xunaa, which means “lee of the north wind”, i.e., protected from the north wind.
The clans comprising the Huna Tlingit originally settled what is now Glacier Bay National Park as well as Icy Strait, Cross Sound, and the outer coast north to Sea Otter Creek. Two catastrophic events forced the Tlingit from their homeland; rapid glacial advance in Glacier Bay and a landslide-induced tsunami in Lituya Bay along the outer coast. Tlingit oral tradition recounts these events as well as the clans' ultimate resettlement in Xunaa.
A partial timeline of modern Hoonah history is below: