Today we spent the majority of the day in Anchorage at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Here is a section from their website regarding what this center is about along with the link: http://www.alaskanative.net/
"The Alaska Native Heritage Center, a renowned cultural center and museum in Anchorage, is an exciting place where all people can come to expand their understanding of Alaska's indigenous people. Here we share, preserve, and perpetuate the rich heritage of Alaska's eleven cultural groups locally, regionally and statewide. Our cultural center and museum is located in Northeast Anchorage, Alaska. The center is a place where young people come to learn and share their cultures and the broader community gains critical connection to Alaska's rich cultural history."
Inside the museum are many artifacts showing the different tools, art and lifestyles of the native people of Alaska. On the stage were three young people who compete in the Native Alaska Games. These are games that have been played for many generations. They not only helped to pass the time during the long winter nights but to keep the hunters agile, strong and skilled. The games also taught skills needed to survive
during the hunts.
during the hunts.
|One Foot High Kick
|The boys can reach much higher.
|Knuckle Hop or Seal Hop for Boys
|One Hand Reach
The participants balance his body on both hands in a squat position. Once the balance has been attained he will reach out with one hand in an attempt to touch a suspended ball. At the same time he will bring the free hand back down to the floor before any other part of his body touches the floor. Control is stressed. The height of the suspended ball will begin at 34 inches for girls and 44 inches for boys. Three attempts at each height will be given to each athlete. The ball will be raised at two inch increments and reduced to one inch increments when three competitors remain. The winner is the athlete who touches the ball at the highest elevation. This game tests the control of one's body and basic balance and endurance used in hunting.
The interiors of the Native Alaskans were mostly made of driftwood that was found from the beaches. In most areas of Alaska there were no trees to be harvested. But sturdy structures that could withstand the cold and heavy snow were needed.
Note in this structure the walrus hide. All parts of the animals that they hunt are used for the native's survivals.
In some areas of Alaska these structures below were made to keep the food and meat from large predators. For that matter all structures whether for food or lodgings were made with this in mind. Many lodging had openings small enough to keep the large predators from gaining easy access to the people inside.
The museum was also showcasing the different culture's dress and dances. There were many masks used depicting animals or deities.
After a great day in Anchorage we drove up a mostly gravel road, Arctic Valley Road. This road puts you way above the city of Anchorage. It was a beautiful evening and a great way to end the day. A quick point to mention.....nearly all the vehicles in Alaska have broken windshields. This road is one of the several reasons most Alaskans do not have them replaced. It is futile!