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Alaska Native Heritage Center

Alaska

Alaska Native Heritage Center

By: Pat DeCola

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  • States:
    Alaska

A Historical Stop in the Last Frontier.

The state of Alaska has a rich heritage. It is the home of at least 11 native cultures which have their own languages, traditions and stories. This territory's vast cultural history is on full display at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Visit the center to explore these cultures through engaging storytelling, authentic native song and dance, artistic demonstrations, native games and more.

What the Cultural Center is About

The center was founded in 1999 to establish a historical archive of some of the United States' remaining indigenous cultures. The center aims to share and preserve unique native Alaskan cultures, languages, traditions and values through an unique interactive cultural experience.

You'll get an in-depth look at the living cultures during guided village site tours—and you can even experience a dog sledding adventure.

Center Activities

Learn a Yup'ik dance — a traditional Eskimo style of choreographed dancing in which men are in front kneeling and the women stand behind — or throw a spear in various workshops and classes, peruse museum exhibitions, experience different cultural celebrations or watch films. 

The highlight of a visit here is the walking tour around a wooded path surrounding beautiful Lake Tiulana through six authentic ancient dwellings, representing the 11 different cultural groups of Alaska. Guides from each tribe at the sites share how their people have survived, adapted and thrive in one of the world's most intriguing climates throughout the years.

Center Amenities

The center offers a free app, which includes an interactive audio tour and videos. If you're looking to take a piece of the culture home with you, there is a heritage gift shop located to the west of the main entrance.

During the summer, take a seat at the Raven's Call Café, an open-air grill that specializes in game burgers, freshly caught fish, grilled meats, soups and chowders.

Seasonal Events

The Heritage Center hosts music and film celebrations such as the World Intertribal Music Festival, the Indigenous World Film Festival and Iditarod Day during the winter months. These aren't to be missed, but to fit more in line with the road trip the best time to visit is during the summer months.

The summer season begins in early May and runs until early September, when the venue is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

How to Get There

The Heritage Center is located at 8800 Heritage Center Dr. in Anchorage, close to downtown. From the Glenn Highway, exit at North Muldoon Road. From Tudor Road, drive east on Tudor, which curves and becomes Muldoon Road. Continue driving until you drive over the Glenn Highway. Take the first right, where the tan Alaska Native Heritage Center sign is located.

Parking is free, and a complimentary shuttle is offered from five downtown locations during the summer season.

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