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$506 Chartered For 6 People

You begin this journey into the past at the Haines cruise ship pier or your place of lodging in Haines. Your ride through the wilderness is part of your experience. You'll be traveling through such natural beauty and abundance that you will have to depend on the sharp eyes of your guide to point out those trying to hide from your view. It happens that the Chilkat Valley has the largest Bald Eagle population in the world. When you see them in force, the majesty of this bird more than doubles.

Upon your arrival in the village of Klukwan, in the heart of the valley, you will gather at the Alaska Native Sisterhood Hall, where members of the tribe will talk of life in the past and present. If able, Aunt Ruth, an elder, will address the group. The Hall has several totem poles and a wall screen showing the Clan Moiety and you will receive a description of this clan.

Children will be anxiously waiting to perform and they will dance for you several of the native dances under the leadership of another one of the tribe's members. You will also be able to share the traditions of fried bread and fish, along with some beverages.

You will be overwhelmed by the generosity of the people as they bring out their personal arts and family remembrances that they have saved. For a moment you will believe you are in a museum, but these pieces have been brought from homes just for your viewing. You will find all the traditional arts, such as baskets, boxes, silver, and Chilkat and Ravenstail weavings.

You will also travel to the other end of the village to the Killer Whale Fin House, an active tribal house, where you will delight in the stories of the Corner Poles housed there. Then you have a choice of walking or riding to the river, where the family smokehouses and fish processing takes place. Often you will be able to watch the preparation, even see the gathering of the fish from the water.

Your return will be very insightful and full of questions, I'm sure.



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