Natives of Ketchikan

Natives of Ketchikan


Ketchikan, Alaska’s first City,is home to three of the most prominent indigenous Alaskan tribes; the Tlingit, Haida and Tshimsian peoples. Although, they share similar cultural traditions, they each have their own unique language and dialects.Their social structure (i.e. family clans) is represented by animal crests that can be identified on totem poles, art, baskets and regalia. The raven, eagle and killer whale are a few examples of these crests. The Tlingit, Haida and Tshimsian tribes are highly esteemed for their spirited and complex cultural art, as well as their majestic carved totem poles which tell stories of events, families and tribal history.The preservation of language, art and tradition is of utmost importance to these noble tribes.

These village people come from a canoe culture and have paddled on the ocean for centuries throughout Southeast Alaska and as far south as the Puget Sound. Historically they paddled to fish and hunt and to visit neighboring villages for social activities (potlatches and trading). Canoes were a mode of transportation and many were ocean going canoes measuring as large as 60 feet long.   These canoes were highly prized works of art and many were given names.  

ALASKA CANOE EXPERIENCE is now offering Native Canoe Tours with the local Natives in Ketchikan. Here is an opportunity to participate in a traditional cultural experience and paddle alongside the Native peoples as they did for hundreds of years. Once aboard the canoe, you will learn to paddle, hear Native canoe songs and learn the history of the local Native culture. Our 36 foot canoes replicate the traditional canoes that were built in the 1800’s. They are extremely safe and durable and can accommodate up to 12 passengers. They are a sight to behold! You will be able to experience the authentic history and culture of these seafaring tribes!