An historic photo of Metlakatla. Most Founder’s Day events in Metlakatla will be postponed to August 14, providing COVID-19 case numbers go down. (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration).


Metlakatla will postpone most of its annual Founder’s Day celebration this year. That’s according to Metlakatla Indian Community Mayor Reginald Atkinson, who released a statement Tuesday evening calling off this weekend’s parade, marathon and field events due to a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in Ketchikan.

Founder’s Day marks the arrival of missionary William Duncan and about 800 Tsimshian people to Annette Island in 1887. 

August 7 will be the 134th anniversary of that historic event. But the celebration could be held a week later on Saturday, August 14, Atkinson wrote — and only if COVID-19 case numbers go down.

Food vendors are still expected to be set up this coming weekend. And a Founder’s Day hotdog feast will proceed as scheduled. 

Cases continue to rise in southern Southeast Alaska. As of Wednesday evening, Ketchikan Public Health has reported 57 new COVID-19 infections since July 29. And last Friday, Metlakatla broke its month-and-a-half stretch of no active cases with the confirmation of three cases by the tribe. 

Metlakatla currently requires 10-day quarantines for nearly all unvaccinated people who arrive from areas of moderate or high COVID-19 risk. The quarantine list has tripled in the last few days, according to a public notice by Atkinson. He has urged community members to wear masks, social distance and wash their hands.

This story has been updated.