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Native Culture

Eskimo Blanket Toss

Alaska's intriguing history is closely intertwined with that of the people who settled here thousands of years ago. Their diverse culture bears imprints of every group that has made Alaska its home, from the first Ice Age nomads to Russian fur traders to the gold miners who came to seek their fortunes.

Today, Native Alaskans comprise almost 16 percent of Alaska's population. These indigenous people interweave today's modern lifestyle with their own cultural threads and spiritual beliefs, preserving the gifts of tradition for the coming generations. Alaska Natives speak several different languages and dialects and practice lifestyles tailored to the resources of their home region. There are many cultural facilities in Alaska where one can listen to stories told by Native elders, learn how totem poles are crafted and participate in an Eskimo blanket toss.

Each region of the state has one or more centers that feature displays and hands-on exhibits of Native culture and arts and crafts.

To get a closer look at Alaska Native culture and this important lifestyle, many villages offer packages to their remote communities to visit, enjoy local foods, take in arts and crafts demonstrations and learn more about the people who first inhabited this vast land. From traditional music and dance to beautiful Native art, there are many opportunities and venues for Alaska visitors to experience an integral part of Alaska's culture and history. For more information, see the Arts, Culture and History section this site.