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Aleut dancers in traditional ceremonial dress
Aleut dancers in traditional ceremonial dress Photo: Clark James Michler

The Alaska Native Heritage Center

Alaska Natives represent approximately 16 percent of Alaska's residents and make up a significant segment of the population of over 200 rural villages and communities. Many Alaska Natives have retained their customs, languages, hunting and fishing practices from time immemorial.

The Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC) is a 26-acre campus in Anchorage that offers a unique experience to learn and explore these traditional ways of Alaska Native cultures. The Welcome House contains interpretive displays, a theatre, a gathering place hosting daily performances of Native dance troupes and drumming during the summer season, concessions, and a gift store. Five traditional village exhibits representing the Alaska Native cultures are nestled around a lake and walking trail offering a glimpse of each culture's traditional crafts and lifestyles. The ANHC experience is designed to enhance self-esteem among Native peoples and to encourage exploration of cross-cultural communication exchanges with non-Native.

Among the Native peoples represented in the Center are Athabascan - Yup'ik, Cup'ik, Eskimo - Inupiaq, St. Lawrence Island Yupik Eskimo - Aleut, Alutiiq, and Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian Indian. Though they have many languages, creeds, and philosophies, Alaska Natives share common goals, values and the challenge to embrace modern changes in such a way that their peoples can be full participants in this modern era, yet not disrupt the traditional cycle of knowledge that has helped to perpetuate Native societies for thousands of generations.

Included in the project documentation are a 33-page report integrated with photos of the ANHC; a videotape of a film, Stories Given, Stories Shared; an AHNC overview video; several issues of The Gathering Times Education Department newsletter; a press kit and photo slides; an ANHC A Gathering of Traditions update packet; other ANHC Education Department materials; special event promotional material, and a Cook Inlet Region 2000 calendar.

Originally submitted by: Sen. Ted Stevens, Senator, Frank Murkowski,Senator, & Don Young Representative (At Large).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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