Alaska Native Heritage Center, 15th Anniversary

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a selection of questions and answers that are commonly asked about the Alaska Native Heritage Center.  If these do not completely answer your questions, please contact the center directly.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Alaska Native Heritage Center

What is the mission of the Alaska Native Heritage Center?

The mission of the Alaska Native Heritage Center is to share, perpetuate and preserve the unique Alaska Native cultures, languages, traditions and values through celebration and education.

Where is the Alaska Native Heritage Center located?

Ten minutes from downtown Anchorage in northeast Anchorage. The Alaska Native Heritage Center is located on 26 acres of wooded land in northeast Anchorage off the Glenn Highway at Muldoon Road.

Why should I help support the Alaska Native Heritage?

The Heritage Center is a unique community resource. The Center strives to strengthen the Alaska economy by providing full and part-time jobs tourist attraction, which may cause visitors to lengthen their stay in Anchorage. On an annual basis we touch the lives of more than 150,000 children and adults. Through its educational programs, the Center helps to diminish discrimination and prejudice whose roots are ignorance and fear.

How do I donate to the Campaign?

The easiest way to pledge your gift is to call us at 907 330-8000. You will be able to speak with someone who can answer all your questions regarding being a donor. You may pledge a one-time gift or pledge your gift over a two-year period. A multi-year pledge enables donors to be more generous, bringing us closer to our campaign goal. You can pay your pledge quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. If you choose this option, a reminder will be sent. Please help us achieve our goals.

Is my contribution tax-deductible?

Yes. The Alaska Native Heritage Center is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. Contributions are deductible to the fullest extent of the law. See your tax advisor for.

Who uses the Alaska Native Heritage Center?

All Alaskans, as well as visitors to the area, are encouraged to visit and/or use the facility. Alaska Natives see the Center as a learning center, a gathering place and a clearinghouse for information regarding Native culture. The center is also cultivating cooperative programs with universities, schools and museums at the local, national and international levels.

Where do the Alaska Native Heritage Center's operating funds come from?

The ongoing operating expenses are funded grants, donations, individual gifts and by revenues from the visitor admissions, the gift shop and facility rental fees.

Why Don't you find the term Eskimo on the ANHC website?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term “Eskimo” means a member of a group of peoples of northern Canada, Greenland, Alaska, and Eastern Siberia and has commonly been used to describe the Inuit and Yupik cultures of the world.  In Canada and Greenland, the Inuit consider this term derogatory and have long thought it to mean “eater of raw meat,” although the more correct definition, according to linguists, comes from an Ojibwa word meaning “to net snowshoes”.  Canadian First Nations people use the term “Inuit” as a self designation.

In Alaska, “Eskimo” is not thought of as being so derogatory, but is nonetheless not preferred.  However, the term “Inuit” does not work well here either, because it refers only to the speakers of the northernmost group (the Inupiat).  Additionally, to Inupiaq speakers, “Inuit” means “those people over there who don’t have a name” (in contrast to the Inupiaq, or “real people” – see below).  The connotations and understandings are therefore quite different in Canada and Alaska.  Most Alaskans encourage others to call them by the names they call themselves: Yupik or Inupiaq.

In Alaska, these groups are further subdivided.  The Yup’ik / Cup’ik culture group is located in Western Alaska, while the Iñupiaq / St. Lawrence Island Yupik culture group is located in Northern Alaska and St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea.  Click on the appropriate group to learn more about its culture and language.

Yup'ik and Yupik, the apostrophe designates a difference in pronunciation; the (plural of both is Yupiit) come from the word yuk meaning “person” plus -pik meaning “real” or “genuine”  Thus, the meaning is literally “real people”.  In the Hooper Bay-Chevak and Nunivak dialects of Yup'ik, both the language and the people are called Cup'ik.
The name “Inupiaq”, meaning “real or genuine person” (inuk “person” plus -piaq “real, genuine”; plural Inupiat), is also spelled “Iñupiaq”, particularly in the northern dialects, again to designate a difference in pronunciation.