Learn about Alaska’s diverse Indigenous communities as you adventure your way through the state.
Explore Alaska Native culture at parks and museums across the Great Land. Get to know the different groups of Alaska Native people through their unique languages, creations and traditions. In the state’s five distinct regions, attend tours and events to see how these living cultures influence the Alaskan way of life.
Immersive Experiences in Alaska’s Arctic: Learning from the Iñupiat and St. Lawrence Island Yup'ik People
In Northern Alaska, learn about the Iñupiat and St. Lawrence Island Yup'ik people whose lives are linked to the sea ice. Begin your journey at the Iñupiat Heritage Center in Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), where culture and history programs await. Study traditional crafts from artists in residence and enjoy displays about hunting and other Iñupiat customs.
Continue your adventure at the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center in Kotzebue. The center provides information about the Kobuk Valley, where the Iñupiat have hunted caribou for thousands of years. Browse museum exhibits and pick up a memento or two in the on-site bookstore.
To learn more about the Bering Strait region's cultural landscape, visit the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum and the Kawerak Katirvik Cultural Center, located together in Nome. See art and films highlighting the Iñupiat, St. Lawrence Island Yupik and Central Yup’ik communities at the museum, then participate in community events and workshops at the cultural center.
A coastal scene in Nome, the traditional homeland of the Iñupiat people
Southcentral and Interior Alaska: Understanding the Influence of the Athabascan People
In Southcentral and Interior Alaska, get acquainted with Athabascan culture. Begin your exploration at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center in Fairbanks, where you can attend programs taught by rural Alaska Native artisans, scientists and speakers. Be sure to visit the Alaska Native Gift Shop to purchase art and handmade items.
Stop by the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage for more on the Athabascan people and other Alaska Native communities. The statewide cultural tourism center invites you to enter life-size traditional dwellings of the Iñupiat, St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Athabascan, Eyak, Haida, Tsimshian, Tlingit, Unangax̂, Alutiiq/Sugpiaq, Yup’ik and Cup’ik peoples. Make time for the center’s other attractions: the Ch’k’iqadi Gallery, where you can find Alaska Native art, and D’eshchin Café, where you can savor Indigenous-inspired meals.
While you’re in Anchorage, look for vibrant murals by Alaska Native artists. Street art can be found throughout the city. If you’re visiting in March, continue your journey at the Festival of Native Arts. The celebration takes place annually at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Head northeast out of Anchorage to tour the Ahtna Cultural Center at the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Visitor Center in the town of Copper Center. There, you’ll learn about the Ahtna Athabascan people who have thrived along the Copper River for centuries. Study their subsistence traditions through photos, timelines and tools including a hand-built fish wheel, and see their language featured on all displays.
Athabascan dancers at the Festival of Native Arts in Fairbanks
Southwest Alaska: Connecting to the Yup’ik, Cup’ik, Unangax̂ and Sugpiaq (Alutiiq) People
Explore the traditional homelands of the Yup’ik, Cup’ik, Unangax̂ and Sugpiaq (Alutiiq) people in Southwest Alaska. Discover the storytelling and dance traditions that link their communities across a vast region. In Kodiak, visit the Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository to learn about Alaska’s Alutiiq and Sugpiaq people through a collection of over 250,000 photographs and cultural artifacts. Don’t miss the Qayat display, which includes an authentic Alutiiq kayak from 1869.
To see another side of these vibrant cultures, head to Bethel for the annual Cama-i Dance Festival in March. Watch groups from across the region and state share their stories through music and movement.
Alaska Native groups from across the state perform in the annual Cama’i Dance Festival.
Exploring Alaska’s Inside Passage: Eyak, Haida, Tsimshian and Tlingit Heritage Centers
Take in the beauty of Inside Passage as you get to know the Eyak, Haida, Tsimshian and Tlingit cultures. Browse local shops for unique items made by these talented craftspeople. Their functional and eye-catching creations include baskets, apparel and accessories. Look for the Silver Hand Seal to be sure you’re buying Alaska Native handicrafts.
Marvel at the scenery at the Sitka National Historical Park, where original Tlingit and Haida totem poles fill the rainforest. Stroll through the visitor center to see more Tlingit artifacts and stay for Demonstrating Artists Program events.
In Ketchikan, learn about Tlingit songs and dances at Saxman Native Village, where you can also find a collection of 19th-century Tlingit totem poles. Head to Juneau to find more at the Sealaska Heritage Institute; walk through interactive exhibits, take a guided tour and attend an art workshop. Before leaving, shop for handmade items at the Sealaska Heritage Store.
Art installations by contemporary Haida, Tsimshian and Tlingit artists decorate the exterior of the Sealaska Heritage Institute
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