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Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska


Alaska Native heritage is woven from the beliefs, values, knowledge and arts of the Iñupiaq, Athabascan, St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Yup'ik, Unangax̂, Sugpiaq, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian peoples. Their diverse languages, cultures and histories are the foundation for contemporary lives. 

We invite teachers, students, parents and lifelong learners to explore Alaska Native cultures, museum objects, communities, videos and educational resources shared here. Learn about the peoples of this northern world from elders, culture-bearers, scholars and artists.

About Us: In 1994, the Smithsonian Institution’s Arctic Studies Center (ASC) opened an office in Alaska at the Anchorage Museum, where staff members work with Alaska Natives on collaborative research and educational programs. In 2010, ASC opened the long-term exhibition Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska. It presents Indigenous voices, perspectives and knowledge through more than 600 masterworks of Alaska Native art and design from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of the American Indian collections. Through their ongoing work, the ASC makes Smithsonian resources accessible to Alaska Natives and the general public.

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Alaska Native Cultures

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The Iñupiaq People and Their Culture

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The St. Lawrence Island Yupik People and Their Culture

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The Athabascan Peoples and Their Culture

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The Sugpiaq (Alutiiq) People and Their Culture

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The Unangax̂ (Aleut) People and Their Culture

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The Eyak People and Their Culture

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The Tlingit People and Their Culture

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The Tsimshian People and Their Culture

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The Haida People and Their Culture

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Alaska Native Territories

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Community Collections

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Coming Soon!

Sharing Resources: Athabascan Potlatches Today

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Local Materials: Yup'ik Ingenuity

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Learning through Games

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Alaska Native Technologies: Bolas

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Community Videos

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Athabascan Moosehide Tanning & Sewing videos

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Iñupiaq Language and Culture videos

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Quill Art videos

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Sewing Gut videos

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Sculpting Walrus Ivory videos

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Sewing Salmon videos

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Sharing the Dena'ina Language

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St. Lawrence Island Yupik Language and Culture videos

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Twining Cedar videos

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Educational Resources

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Gifts from the Land: Lifeways and Quill Art of the Athabascan Peoples

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Iñupiaq Lessons: Language and Culture

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Salmon Give Life: Learning from Alaska’s First Peoples

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St. Lawrence Island Yupik Lessons: Language and Culture

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Tsimshian Bilingual Guide: Twining Cedar

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