15 August 2014
Our Alaskan adventure was coming to an end, but our long flight back to the east coast didn’t leave until late afternoon. Paprika and Oregano decided to squeeze in a visit to one more museum before heading to the airport.
During our trip through Alaska, we have all been fascinated by how humans have adapted to living in such a harsh climate that is so rich with natural resources. We decided to visit The Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage to learn more about the 11 major cultural groups that are native to Alaska.
They have wonderful exotic-sounding names: the Athabascans (who live in the interior and northeastern areas of Alaska), the Unangax and Alutiiq (Sugpiaq) (mainly along the southern and southwestern coast and islands), the Yup’ik and Cup’ik People (of the southwest), the Inupiaq and the St. Lawrence Island Yupik People (of the north and northwest), and the Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian (of the southeast).
In the museum, there are displays and information about each of those distinct cultures, as well as example of their homes, tools and art.
Throughout the day, there are demonstrations of native dances, games and storytelling. In the short time we were there, we were able to watch a demonstration of native games. These were games of agility and flexibility that helped indigenous people to develop and hone skills needed for being efficient hunters and fishermen.
Young athletes who participate in the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics demonstrated the toe kick, the seal hop, the one-hand reach and the Alaskan high kick. The strength and skill they exhibited doing these games was astounding! Paprika had to snap the camera very quickly to be able to capture images of these games. You can read more about each of these games here.