The Native Center is an amazing place. It is well worth the entrance fee. We spent about five hours here absorbing all we could about the lives of the Alaskan natives. Allow me to share some of our visit with you.
There are eleven distinct native cultures in Alaska and eleven different native languages. This museum honors the first Alaskans by telling the stories of the diverse groups based on five culture groupings. I was surprised to learn that many of the cultures are related to native people who live in the lower 48 states.
The native dances tell a story and were full of driving drum beats and energy. They reminded me of watching the Hawaiian dancers.
|With no written language, the totem poles tell a story through their beautiful works of art. Not every group makes them.|
|The Athabascan people built strong log homes. The structure to the left is a cache for keeping their food safe from critters.|
My husband stands by the cow parsnips so you see how tall these plants are. They grow everywhere and are edible before they reach maturity. This stalky plant can also cause skin rashes.
|This is the skeleton of a whale. Can you imagine hunting and killing a whale having only spears and a canoe? The people used every part of the whale.|
|The jaw bones of a whale. The native Alaskans erected these to identify the entrance to their community because farther north there are no trees, so there are no landmarks.|
|John Baker, the first native Alaskan Iditarod champion since 1976, had his sled dogs at the center. Baker is the 2011 winner.|
| I couldn't resist placing this photo of the darling puppy here. Snow white coat. I'd name her Snowflake.|
|These delicate spring flowers (mind you we visited here June 30) graced the path curving around the displays.|
Part 1: Wasilla/Palmer and Mat-Su Region
Part 2: Denali National Park