Southeast Alaska Native Culture

(c) Mark Kelley. All rights reserved.

Immerse Yourself in Culture in Southeast Alaska!

Southeast Alaska boasts rich Native culture and is home to three Alaskan Native groups, the Tlingit, Tsimshian, and Haida, all with their own unique story to tell. These indigenous peoples are well known for their distinctive art represented in totem poles and other elegantly carved forms, and what many think of when imagining a tour through Southeast Alaska. Experience these three cultures through intimate one-on-one meetings with locals, insights gleaned from local Native guides, traditional Alaskan foods, and interpretive museums on this educational tour highlighting Alaska’s first people in Ketchikan, Sitka and Juneau.

Go Island-Hopping in Southeast Alaska!

Day 1

Arrive in Ketchikan

Welcome to Ketchikan! Upon arrival, a private transfer will bring you to the Cape Fox Lodge which is owned by the Cape Fox Native Corporation with its captivating displays of Alaskan Native culture showcasing Native artwork, tools, regalia and allowing you to immediately immerse yourself in the cultures of Alaska’s first people. The remainder of the day is yours to explore Ketchikan.

Overnight in Ketchikan, your home for the next two nights.

Day 2

Ketchikan Cultural Immersion

Your cultural tour in Alaska begins at your hotel where you will be met by an experienced local guide before traveling to Saxman Village, a Tlingit village located 2.5 miles from Ketchikan. Your guide will share the legends behind the colorful totem poles throughout the village. Visit the carving shed where you will see the Native carvers in action, creating artwork out of logs. Visit the Tribal House and see the style of living in earlier days and where Alaskan Native festivals and dances are held.

Next, return to Ketchikan for a walking tour, including the town’s main attractions and historical sites from the early days with a focus on historic Creek Street and the importance of the creek to the early Native and white settlers. Travel from Creek Street by tram back to the Cape Fox Lodge where your guide will give you a brief overview of Tlingit customs and traditions while you enjoy a delicious Tlingit-style snack. Afterwards, enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure.

Day 3

Travel from Ketchikan to Sitka

After a relaxing morning, check out of your hotel and travel to the Ketchikan Airport for your scheduled flight to Sitka. Once you arrive in Sitka, a private transfer will bring you to your hotel. This afternoon is at your leisure to explore Sitka on your own.

Overnight in Sitka, your home for the next two nights.

(c) Matt Hage. All rights reserved.

Day 4

Tlingit Cultural Traditions

Embark on a full day tour of Sitka with your local guide.  Your day will include a visit to Sitka National Historical Park where Totem poles impart the rich culture of the Tlingit. Your guide will discuss Totem significance, edible and medicinal plans of the rainforest, traditional uses of salmon, and rainforest ecology. Inside a traditional style Tlingit Clan House, you’ll see a vibrant dance performance that begins with the telling of an ancient story while a burning cedar fire tantalizes your senses. Dancers enter adorned in beautiful regalia to entertain you with songs passed down through the generations.

(c) Matt Hage. All rights reserved.

Day 5

Meet Sitka Wildlife and History - Travel to Juneau

Your Sitka adventure continues today with a visit to the Alaska Raptor Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public and providing medical treatment for birds of prey. Later your driver/guide will take you to the Sheldon Jackson Museum.  Founded in 1888, the museum houses an exceptional collection of Alaska Native ethnographic materials, most of which were gathered by Presbyterian missionary and General Agent of Education for Alaska, the Rev. Dr. Sheldon Jackson. In 1985, the state purchased the Sheldon Jackson Museum and now administers its collection of 6,000 objects.

This evening board a flight to Juneau, Alaska’s Capital City.

Overnight in Juneau, your home for the next three nights.

(c) Reinhard Pantke. All rights reserved.

Day 6

Dive Into the History and Culture of Juneau

Meet your driver/guide to begin your Juneau cultural tour, beginning with a visit to the Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI). Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research and advocacy that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history, and education statewide. You’ll also enjoy a visit to the Alaska State Museum. Established in 1900, the Museum collects, exhibits, and interprets the human and natural history of Alaska and features a full-size bald eagle nesting tree and extensive ethnographic exhibits on the cultures of Alaska’s Native people.

(c) Sealaska Heritage Institute. All rights reserved.

Day 7

Juneau Icefield - Mendenhall Glacier - Whale Watching Cruise

Embark on another full day visit of Juneau, this time extending beyond the downtown area to explore some of the other attractions of Alaska’s capital city. The Juneau Icefield is the fifth-largest in the Western Hemisphere and is home to over 40 large valley glaciers and 100 smaller ones. One of the icefield’s biggest attractions, Mendenhall Glacier is one of the most accessible and most visited, receiving almost 500,000 visitors each year.

Later board a private vessel to discover Alaska’s whales! This private cruise showcases Southeast Alaska many treasures from its islands and glaciers, to its rugged mountain peaks and wildlife. These stunning landscapes cradle diverse natural habitats that are home to fascinating animals. You’ll enjoy a private exploratory journey through coastal fiords that gives you a unique perspective into this wilderness as you learn about it in an intimate setting, from a certified naturalist and experienced captain.

Day 8

Depart Juneau

Today, say goodbye to Southeast Alaska and its rich culture and history. A private transfer will bring you to the Juneau Airport in time for your departure flight.

©Travel Juneau. All rights reserved.

Amenities, nearby adventures and more...

Price range:  $1500 - $2000 per person, per day

  • All transportation services, including arrival and departure transfers, in a private vehicle with an experienced driver/guide
  • All hotel accommodations, including roundtrip baggage handling and daily breakfast
  • All tours and activities, carefully selected for you
  • All scheduled flights as outlined
  • Gratuity for included activities or hotel services
  • Meals, other than mentioned
  • Alcoholic beverages

Customize your adventure

Add an extra day in Ketchikan for world class fishing

Include an additional day in Ketchikan to try your luck at landing a famous Alaskan halibut or salmon.

Add an extra day in Sitka

Consider adding an extra day in Sitka for an all-day kayaking adventure.

Combine this tour with a program in 'mainland' Alaska

Want to learn more about the Alaska Native Cultures in Alaska? Combine this tour with another program that features the people of Interior Alaska.

Add a day of bear viewing

Extend your time in Ketchikan to include a flyout bear viewing tour.

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You did an amazing job arranging this trip for a bunch of spoiled, whining Californians. Each of our guides, activities and accommodations gets 5-star ratings. Tutka was especially appreciated; our only regret being we couldn’t stay longer. Everyone wants to go back. Steve our driver was a very cool dude. And everyone from... Read more

David Cutler