Ahtna Cultural Center Reopens After Three Years With New Energy

Ahtna Cultural Center Open Again Thanks To  Ahtna-NPS Partnership  Cultural Center in Copper Center. (Journal file photo)  Open Wednesday Th...

Ahtna Cultural Center Open Again Thanks To  Ahtna-NPS Partnership 

Cultural Center in Copper Center. (Journal file photo) 

Open Wednesday Through Friday 

After three years of closures, the Ahtna Cultural Center has reopened. The cultural center is on the grounds of the Wrangell-St. Elias Park visitor complex in Copper Center. 

Ahtna and the park service have joined into a partnership to run the center and to allow "an opportunity to learn and connect with Ahtna Athabaskan history, culture and people through Alaska Native exhibits, a hand-built fish wheel, a food cache and museum," said a June 21st joint press release.

Demonstration fish wheel at Ahtna Native Heritage Center was constructed by the late Johnny Goodlataw and draws travelers.  (File photo, Country Journal) 

Three Ahtna shareholders, including a supervisor and two interns, have been hired to manage operations and answer questions. The reopening celebration was held three weeks ago, on June 1st. 

"The broader vision for the Cultural Center is to welcome our people to use the space to practice traditional ways such as beadwork and explain the patterns and colors that are used," said Ahtna President Michelle Anderson.

The late Ben & Hazel Neeley, outside the Ahtna Cultural Center on an afternoon visit. (File photo, Country Journal) 

Ben Bobowski, of the park service said, "I'm looking forward to a really productive summer working with Ahtna." 

The center is at Mile 106.8 of the Richardson, just north of Copper Center, on the park service grounds, adjacent to NPS buildings. The Cultural Center will be open  It's open Wednesday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm, and closed for lunch. It can be reached at 822-5955 the press release said. 

Albert Craig, Jr. at the Ahtna Cultural Center. (File photo, Country Journal) 

There are two other major Native American cultural centers on Alaska's road system. The Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage represents every Alaskan Native linguistic and cultural group. The Morris Thompson Cultural Center in Fairbanks primarily depicts northern river life, but has a strong emphasis on everyday life in villages.

Important displays of Native art and culture can also be seen at the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks, the Lands Information Center in Anchorage, and at the Anchorage Museum. 

There are also Native cultural displays at the Kenai Visitor Center in the city of Kenai, the Talkeetna Museum, the Homer Islands and Oceans Center and the Denali National Park Visitor Center.


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