Here’s some of what the alaskanative.net website has to say about Alaska Native Heritage Centre:
“The Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC) was created by a unanimous vote of the Alaska Federation of Natives in 1987, which called for the establishment of a state-wide Alaska Native Culture Center. Two years later, ANHC was officially an incorporated non-profit organization and with the help and support of committed community members, in coordination with distinguished organizations like the Alaska Native Corporations, began fundraising to build the Center. ANHC opened its doors to the public in May of 1999, and celebrate its 20th Anniversary in 2019.
The Gathering Place
The Gathering Place is center stage for Alaska Native dancing, compelling Native Games demonstrations, and intriguing storytelling. New to our summer programming interactive Alaska Native dance and games demonstrations! Join us and participate in learning a song or practice a traditional game with one of our staff on stage.
The Hall of Cultures
The Hall of Cultures features exhibits and demonstrating Alaska Native artists. Visitors discover more about each of the five major culture groups through engaging exhibits. Alaska Native craft activities will keep the children entertained.
Alaska Native artist vendors demonstrate and sell their work in the work areas in the Hall of Cultures. Take home a piece of traditional Alaska Native made art!
Guests stroll through six authentic life-sized Native dwellings situated in a wooded area around beautiful Lake Tiulana and are introduced to the traditional lifeways of the Athabascan, Inupiaq/St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Yup’ik/Cup’ik, Aleut, Alutiiq, and the Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian peoples.
Each village site has a traditional structure along with artifacts that each group used in their daily lives. Make sure to see the whalebones at the Inupiaq site; a favourite spot for picture taking.
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
With a little extra time on our hands, we decided to take the free shuttle from the Anchorage Museum out to the edge of the city to the Alaska Native Heritage Centre. We expected to see more displays on the indigenous peoples, but we were delighted to find a vibrant centre, with so much more than a museum has to offer.
When we arrived the performances by high school students were just about to begin. We were impressed by the professionalism displayed by these young adults, and very much enjoyed their dances, singing and storytelling. We also learned that the students earn credits towards their high school diplomas for participating in the activities at the Centre.
We didn’t realize that the site also included an outdoor exhibit of traditional homes of several of the native peoples of Alaska. This was an added bonus for sure. It’s always wonderful to escape the confines of a building and we able to learn about the local people and their traditions outdoors. There were a number of artisans selling their handmade creations. I picked up a couple of items that caught my eye.
Before leaving, we toured through the indoor displays that gave even more insight into the different ethnic groups, seeing the similarities and difference between those who lived on the coastal waters, and others who lived inland. It was an afternoon well spent indeed.