Come join me on a Historic and Cultural Tour while in Ketchikan!
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Come join me on a Historic and Cultural Tour while in Ketchikan!
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Come join me on a Historic and Cultural Tour while in Ketchikan!

2 h
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About this activity
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Stop At: Totem Bight State Historical Park, 9883 N Tongass Hwy, Ketchikan, AK 99901-9246

With the growth of non-Native settlements in Southeast Alaska in the early 1900's, and the decline of a barter economy, Natives moved to communities where work was available. The villages and totem poles they left behind were soon overgrown by forests and eroded by weather. In 1938 the U.S. Forest Services began a program aimed at salvaging and reconstructing these large cedar monuments. By using Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) funds to hire skilled carvers from among the older Natives, two things took place: young artisans learned the art of carving totem poles, and totems which had been left to rot in the woods were either repaired or duplicated.

Duration: 30 minutes

Pass By: Saxman Native Village, Ketchikan, AK

Ketchikan is truly the totem capital of the world, and if you want to see the most standing totems in one location, a visit to Saxman Village’s Totem Park is in order. The 25 totems here are authentic replicas of original poles that were left in abandoned villages as Native Alaskans moved into more populated cities.

Stop At: Potlatch Totem Park, 9809 Totem Bight Rd, Ketchikan, AK 99901-9200

A major highlight of the park is the totem carving shed. Here, visitors are able to witness resident carvers at work practicing the ancient art of crafting totem poles and learn about the process of turning freshly cut cedar logs into massive, stacked family histories. Potlatch Park is, of course, punctuated by such totem poles throughout, with the tallest reaching a height of 42 feet. Educational resources abound to help discern their meaning for those unfamiliar with Tlingit mythology. Information boards point out significant figures such as the Raven—who, according to native lore, delivered the Sun to the world—the Killer Whale, Thunderbird, Wolves, and many more.

Duration: 30 minutes

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  • GST (Goods and Services Tax)
Not included
  • Totem pole locations fee; Saxman, Totem Bight and Totem Heritage Center.
  • Entry/Admission - Totem Bight State Historical Park
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Infant seats available
  • Surfaces are wheelchair accessible
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate


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