Sitka National Historical Park
Sitka National Historical Park Review
The main building at this 113-acre park houses a small museum with fascinating historical exhibits and photos of Tlingit Native culture. Highlights include a brass peace hat given to the Sitka Kiksádi by Russian traders in the early 1800s and Chilkat robes. Head to the theater to watch a 12-minute video about Russian–Tlingit conflict in the 19th century. Ask a ranger to point you toward the Centennial Totem Pole, installed in honor of the park's 100th anniversary in 2011. Also here is the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center, where Native artisans demonstrate silversmithing, weaving, wood carving, and basketry. Make sure you strike up a conversation (or two) with the artists; they're there to showcase and talk about their work as well as Tlingit cultural traditions. At the far end of the building are seven totems (some more than a century old) that have been brought indoors to protect them from decay. Behind the center a wide, 2-mile path takes you through the forest and along the shore of Sitka Sound. Scattered along the way are some of the most skillfully carved Native totem poles in Alaska. Keep going on the trail to see spawning salmon from the footbridge over Indian River. Park Service rangers lead themed walks in summer, which focus on the Russian–Tlingit conflict, the area's natural history, and the park's totem poles.
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