Friday, July 25, 2008

Alaskan Native Heritage Center

The Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage displays a number of traditional village sites around the small Lake Tiulana.

These sites open a window into the past with actual native hosts at each site telling about traditional and contemporary ways of village life. Traditions that helped people thrive in Alaska's rich environment.

 Many aspects of native life are showcased here-- films, native storytelling and dancers, and many artisans making and showing native products.

                                         A demonstration on the Indian Olympics was given.

 Houses were made of the most abundant materials close by: wood, mud, grass, whale bones and various hides and skins, and were often partly underground.

The small house on stilts is a food cache or storage house used to protect food from the animals.

                                     A cooking and meat drying room.

                                     Native Athabascans telling of their lifestyle.

 The Qasgig or larger men's house between two women's houses. Men and older boys lived and worked here and this was the community house.

The women brought food in the evening and joined in the singing and festive events here. It was twice as large as the women's house. All women lived in the Ena, or women's house. The young girls were taught to weave baskets, mats and sew skins there.

                                       An Aleutian Islander's house.

                                      A Walrus ivory knife that tells a story.

Judy trying on an Aleutian whaling helmet, used by hunters in their kayaks to keep the sun and water from their face. The forward-facing ridge or groove was a guide for throwing the harpoon straight ahead.

The Northeast coast is a temporate rain forest and wood is very plentiful.
Natives lived in massive spruce and cedar clan houses--

--with huge totem poles, clan crests and beautiful wood products.

                          Basket made of sea lion gut, fur seal and sea lion teeth.

A moose bladder bag, made of moose bladder and hide, shells and bird feathers.

Buying ivory earings right from the craftsman

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