Site of village on NW coast of Long I., at Howkan Narrows, Alex. Arch.
Tlingit Indian name reported in 1881 by Lieutenant Commander Nichols, U.S. Navy (USN). "Howkan * * * was at one time the largest village of the Hyda (Haido) Indians in the area. All that remains to mark this site is some evidence of clearing (U. W. Coast and Geodetic Survey, 1962, p79)" This village was absorbed by the former village of Kaigani which, in turn, was abandoned when the village of Hydaburg was established in 1911 in order to centralize the school system. The Jackson post office was established at Howkan in 1882, and probably named for Sheldon Jackson, who established a mission here in 1881. The post office name was changed to Howcan in 1886, back to Jackson in 1890, and back to Howcan in 1903. In 1917 the post office was discontinued and transferred to Hydaburg (Ricks, 1937, p27). J. F. Swanton (in Hodge, 1907, p573), Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE), says "Howkan a Tlingit (Indian) word probably referring to a stone which stood up in front of the town, although some derive it from "gowakon," deer being numerous there).