Since the late 19th century, Metlakatla has been the major settlement of the Metlakatla Indian Community of the federally recognized Annette Islands Reserve, the only remaining reservation in Alaska. It is located on Annette Island, and in 2010 had 1,405 residents. Membership in the community is primarily by lineage and is comprised primarily of Tsimshian people. Metlakatla comes from a Tsimshian word meaning "Salt Water Passage." In 1886, William Duncan, an English tannery employee and lay member of the Church Missionary Society, along with a devoted group of Tsimshian followers, decided to leave his home village in British Colombia. Duncan went to Washington, D.C., asked the U.S. government to give his group land in Alaska. The U.S. gave them Annette Island after a Tsimshian search committee in seagoing canoes discovered its calm bay, accessible beaches and abundant fish. The group arrived in 1887 and built a settlement laid out in a grid pattern like a European town. They named the town New Metlakatla, after the town they had left behind, but later dropped the "New."