"Ketchikan and the Totem Poles" Ketchikan by Korin79380083

Ketchikan Travel Guide: 222 reviews and 537 photos

Ketchikan - the Indian influence

Here in Ketchikan, Alaska, one finds the Totem Heritage Centre which was established in 1976 to preserve endangered 19th century totem poles retrieved from uninhabited Tlingit and Haida village sites. Those magnificent, original poles are displayed at the Centre in conjunction with other totems and Native Alaskan artifacts. As well as a museum, the Totem Heritage Centre also preserves and promotes the traditional arts and crafts of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures through a nationally-recognized program of Native Arts classes and other activities.
The Tongass Historical Museum is also found here and one can see a collection of very interesting antique Amerindian ceremonial artifacts and items, pioneer relics, minerals, and hand made arts and crafts used in those days.

The Totem Poles

Also in Ketchikan, is the historic Tlingit Indian village of Saxman. Saxman was founded in 1894 and was the site of a Presbyterian mission school. In the mid-1930’s, the people of Saxman, with the help of the federal Civilian Conversation Corps, arranged their totem poles into a formal park. It is the fifth most popular attraction in Alaska. There are 34 totem poles at Saxman Native Village and each one has its own unique story and history. There is also a clan house and a carving centre where totems are made. You can actually see the carvers at work. The master carver in Saxman is internationally recognized and his work is in demand around the world. You can see many of his totem poles displayed around Ketchikan.
It is rather weird and yet exciting to stand underneath a group of totem poles. They stand multi-coloured and proud, sometimes small but mainly huge and overseeing. They seem to be old and wise and all-knowing.

Creek Street

Down Creek Street, people are actually fishing from the bridge in the village centre and you can see the salmon swimming upstream amidst the hustle and bustle of the tourists and local shoppers. Ketchikan has a feel of history and Indian tribes to it and one can revere this feeling through seeking more knowledge about Ketchikan’s native arts and crafts.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lovely warm people with a strong Indian heritage
  • Cons:Not much to do in winter is you are a native
  • In a nutshell:Ketchikan - the Indian influence and the totem poles
  • Last visit to Ketchikan: Sep 2009
  • Intro Written Aug 1, 2011
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Korin79380083

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