Native Heritage & Culture In Anchorage
Native culture and heritage in Anchorage is diverse and statewide.
Places To Explore Native Culture Slideshow Places
People come from rural areas to Anchorage to find work, go to college, for medical care, to shop and to meet other Alaskans. They bring their culture, language, art and traditions with them. You can find Native Alaskan influence and culture throughout Anchorage.
The Alaska Native Heritage Center is a famous location for those who wish to greaten their understanding of Alaska's indigenous population. The displays and tours allow visitors to appreciate Alaskan Native culture in an environment of learning and respect.
Native Culture In Anchorage
Alaska Native Heritage Center
8800 Heritage Center Drive, Anchorage
This large complex is the premier location for experiencing Alaskan Native culture. Free shuttles will take you here from downtown. If you’re driving, go out the Glenn Highway, and exit north on the Muldoon Road. Look for the tan Alaska Native Heritage Center signs. Parking is free. The Center is open during the summer from 9 am to 5 pm. The Center is located on 26 acres, and has replicas of six traditional Native Alaskan homes. The “village sites” are arranged around a lake, and you can view them by taking a leisurely walk.
The Center represents every indigenous cultural group in Alaska, and there are indoor displays of each culture. Alaska Native dancers perform cultural dances in scheduled performances. Traditional artists are often there to show their art and Native art classes are sometimes available. This is an excellent place to learn about Alaska’s peoples, and their similarities and differences. The facility also gives young people to work, learn and demonstrate their culture, dances, traditional lifestyle and art.
Alaska Native Medical Center
4315 Diplomacy Drive, Anchorage
Art Displays Remind Patients Of Life Back Home.
The Native Medical Center is at the corner of East Tudor Road and Bragaw Street. Over the years, a collection of superb Native Art has been donated from all over the state. The Native Medical Center has a gift shop open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 2 pm. The stairwell has displays that you can view without worrying about interfering with patients.
Eklutna Historical Park
Mile 26 Glenn Highway, Eklutna Exit
26 miles north of Anchorage is a Russian-Native Alaskan cemetery. St. Nicholas Church is Anchorage’s oldest building. Eklutna preceded "Anchorage" historically, as a Dena'ina Athabascan Village. Take the Eklutna exit and follow the signs.
Anchorage Art Stores
Anchorage art stores make excellent artwork available to the public. Native Alaskan art is available, for sale, at specialty stores. The quality of the art is world-class, often on a par with anything you’d see in a museum. There are also places that sell the beads, leather and fur that is used by many Native Alaskans in their work.
Cultural Centers On Alaska's Roads
Nenana Alfred Starr Cultural Center
304 Parks Highway, River Front Street, Nenana
North On The Parks Highway
The Alfred Starr Cultural Center in Nenana is a must stop on your way to Fairbanks. It has interesting displays. Sometimes you can find a workshop, like this one, in progress, where young people were being taught how to make birch baskets by master artist Nina Alexander.
Most Native Alaskans live in small communities in "the Bush" or along the coast, off the road system. Several communities where Native Athabascans live on the roads have developed cultural centers. Here are four of them.
Morris Thompson Cultural Center
101 Dunkel Street, Fairbanks,
The new Morris Thompson Cultural Center in Fairbanks celebrates rural Alaskan and Native American life. There are a number of places in Alaska where you can learn about art and culture. But this unique display is more hands-on than most. And more real. The center is also a place where people can learn about traditional skills, as well as make reservations for public use cabins and get maps and information about public lands.
Ahtna Cultural Center
107 Richardson Highway, Glennallen
This is a new facility that centers around the life of the Ahtna Athabascan People of the Copper River Valley. There's a fishwheel display outside the building. Fishwheels are used in the Copper River to catch salmon.
Kenai Visitors And Cultural Center
11471 Kenai Spur Hwy, Kenai
The Kenai Peninsula's wealth of resources is represented here. The Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center is a very large facility that houses a permanent collection of local historical artifacts, wildlife exhibits, a museum store, the Saturday Market and a variety of educational programs. The center is open year-round. Every summer it has different art and cultural exhibits.