Alaska 2014

NOTE: For THIS report only, all the comments and discussion are Sharon's, so there are no {curly brackets}.


Report 44. Day 44. Tue, June 17. Heritage Center. Jerry and Shirley to the Airport for Flights Home

Bob was still feeling bad so we left him in bed at home and went to the Heritage Center that I had wanted to visit. I had read that it depicted 6 different styles of villages that native peoples had lived in before the white man came.

These boys were demonstrating traditional "games" that reinforced needed skills for hunting or fighting. In this one they try to kick that hanging ball while sitting on the floor grabbing onto the left foot with their right hand. Then while in that sitting position they launch themselves into the air and try to kick the ball with their other foot. OK, it looked better than I can explain. He said the record was 7 feet 2 inches.

The six "villages" are built around this lake

This is a "fish Wheel" (see picture above of the actual size) It works like a water wheel with the stream turning it. The salmon travelling up stream are scooped up in the wire baskets (the young man tells us originally the baskets were made of sinew strips before they had wire) and they slide down into wooden boxes. The natives then can come along periodically and empty the boxes. The natives are still allowed to use these but we didn't see any in action, maybe because the salmon runs are just beginning.

Examples of one type of winter shelter. The elevated "cache" was to prevent bears and other people from taking your food. You kept the ladder inside the house.

The object on the right is the pericaradium of a moose. It was water tight so used for water storage or to cook in I think

This style of shelter was common for many different tribes. A lot of it is actually underground and thus warmer in the winter. The large one on the left was for men only with the women in the smaller one(no comment) But there were tunnels connecting them and even in a large community connecting differnet family groups. That way they could visit each other without having to go out in -60 degree weather.

These were coastal fishing and hunting peoples

Look how happy the women and girls look!

Children on top of a Men's shelter

There were nice young people in each area explaining their type of tribe and shelters. Very informative and "you can touch anything"

Another type of fish trap

Baby seal "float" used to tire another seal or walrus you have harpooned (remember "Jaws" and the barrels they put on the shark? The ohter is a feather ornament used in dancing

Shirley holding a traditional "Ulu" knife made from slate and very sharp. Used in many ways before they had access to steel blades and knives

Ulu knife and jawbone of a moose used in meetings. You could only talk if you held the jawbone.

Picture of "wild celery" A lot is growing here and they ate the roots. They also showed us many plants and herbs they used as medicines.

Another tribe and their shelter. Again, most underground for heat and notice the "escape" tunnel in case of danger. Baleen segment leaning against the wall

Jawbones of a "bow" whale that they said were actually twice as long initially. Our guides taking our picture while I take theirs

Skeleton of a whale (I forget which kind)

Piece of Moose intestine which was transparnet enough to use as window covering (it is also waterproof so it could provide light without letting in the rain/snow) That red object is a "visor" that the girl said "no man would go outside without one" This one was fairly plain so she said he must have not been married as the wife would decorate the visor for her husband.

This shelter only had an opening in the very top and you can see from the picture you would climb down this "ladder" to get in. They could remove it to close up tight.(although I don't know what you did if bad people just jumped down on you?)

Raven decoration The raven is much valued in their cultures and mythologies

Long boat lashed to the ceiling. and carvings on a big rock outside the building.

Traditional totem pole with one man holding up the elder on the top and then an eagle and a raven holding up the young man

This was the most elaborate structure they had here. Quite beautiful; more coastal as they had wood to build such structures as opposed to those people who lived farther north in the tundra with little or no trees. They used only driftwood in their structures.

This young woman told us (very proudly) that she was Raven clan and that the clan comes to you from your mother and all inheritance is through the females. She said "If your mother is Raven, you are Raven and Your children will be Raven" no matter what the clan of the father.

This is a traditional Adz (great Words With Friends word). You can see the individual marks on the wood to show that each plank or column was hand hewn with such an adz. Originally the blade attached to this wooden handle would be flint or shale but they used steel after the white man brought it. Every piece of wood in this building had thewse marks and demonstrated that it was hand built.


Lewises flew out 4:30pm flight. Came home went to bed.  Decided to leave Thursday instead of tomorrow/Wednesday to have breather day. {Earlier in the day we had Bob call Kaiser in San Jose and describe his coughing which his Doctor had in the past ordered inhalers for. The Doctor on call called in a prescription for Walgreen's and we picked them up on the way home from the airport. I hope they help because his cough is miserable} Bye Jerry and Shirley, we will miss you a lot!

Driving back from the airport, Sharon had me take photos of these flower-hanging fishing rods.

And then we spotted these cool skeleton shadows in the back of a Dodge 4x4.


All the Best,
Bob and Sharon

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