Results 1-5of 5 Reviews
by two cruisers
March 16, 2012
From journal Alaska: US's 49th and 49th for us.
by Wildcat Dianne
July 29, 2010
Larissa and I first went into the auditorium where a scheduled performance by young native dancers from the Raven, Wolf, Eagle, and Whale clans kept us very entertained. The costumes on the young performers where hand-crafted by Tlingit tribal women and the buttons on every cape told us what tribe the youngsters were from along with tribal symbols. The performances were intertwined with an oral history of a gentleman named Lorne whose tribe hailed from the Kodiak Island area. Lorne was very entertaining in talking about his experiences growing up Native Alaskan and how white people are fascinated by the Native way of life.
The performances in the Auditorium very very entertaining and lasted about 30 minutes. Then Larissa and I went outside to check out the individual interactive tribal huts and natives from the six groups. Some of the groups were only subpar in telling us about their culture and tribes, and one of them had natives from another tribe pinch hitting because no one was available, and they didn't seem too enthused or knowledgable about the other tribes.
But Larissa and I really enjoyed the interactive sessions with our first and last groups, the Athabascan and Tlingit tribes. When we entered the Athabascan hut, we were greeted by a charming young man who was a college student who enthusiatically told us about the hunting-gathering aspects of his tribe. He specifically told us about the annual moose hunts that occur with the Athabascan people who are located near the Canadian border in Southestern and Central Alaska. He was also very knowledgable about the marital practices of his tribe, singled me out as an example. If I was a native and wanted to marry, both of us would have to spend time with both sets of parents at their camps. I said my parents were divorced, and Dad would probably want to see if my intended could keep up with His Lordship woodcutting with him or lose him in the woods. HA HA! The young Athabascan man then told us that he had personally handsewn the yellow tunic he was wearing and beaded it himself. He then let us touch the moosehide tunic and see the stitchery inside. This kid could put my seamstress friend Leslie in Idaho to shame with the tight tiny stitches and beautiful craftsmanship.
Larissa and I also enjoyed the Tlingit women who guided us through their lives as a tribe who relies on fishing and foraging for herbs, roots, and wild berries in their villages located in the Southeastern part of Alaska near the Juneau area. Larissa actually has a Tlingit mother who adopted Larissa into her tribe and lives near Sitka in Southeast Alaska.
The older lady in the Tlingit hut taught us about how they forage for roots and berries and showed us the implements and utensils that are handcrafted by the tribe from bone or woven from grass or pine needles. They are beautiful works of art to us non-natives, but they are necessities of life for the Tlingit people. She was very informative and entertaining, and Larissa and I left there very happy.
After touring the interactive, huts, Larissa and I went back inside the main building of the ANHC and looked at the tables where natives were making and teaching people how to paint native designs or beading. Larissa and I stopped by the Tlingit table where an elderly woman and her young apprentice were handbeading patches of hide to put onto Tlingit slippers or mocassins. Upon further asking of questions from me, I found out that the elderly Tlingit woman's name was Mabel King, and she was 90-years-old! God bless, I said! She reminded me of everyone's sweet grandma, and she asked me where I was from and if I was enjoying my time at the ANHC. I told her I was enjoying myself and that I was from near Pensacola, Florida. She then asked me if the tornados that hit parts of Mississippi and other southern states that week had affected my neck of the woods, and I told her "no" and we worry more about hurricanes than tornados in our area. We wound up having a nice talk about the weather in Florida before making our way out of the building.
You can get to the Alaskan Native Heritage Center on your own by car or there are shuttles from Anchorage. Check with the Anchorage Tourist Bureau off of 5th Avenue downtown for more information. You can also combine your Anchorage Museum ticket with the admission to the ANHC to save money. I didn't do this not knowing if we were going to make it and I kind of kicked my self for not doing it. Oh well! Next time. I highly recommend the Alaskan Native Heritage Center for all to get their 101 on Native Alaskan history and culture.
From journal Museum Hopping, Shopping and Other Mischief in Anchorage
December 13, 2008
From journal Anchorage in the Fall
July 19, 2006
From journal Alaska: The Final Frontier
July 2, 2006
From journal Anchorage: Gateway to Alaska