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Spirit of the Tundra

Spirit of the Tundra

TOUR OVERVIEW - ALASKA: Spirit of the Tundra   


DID YOU KNOW? Even if you saw a million acres a day, it would still take you more than a year to see all of Alaska?

Peruse this Once In A Lifetime itinerary, created for those who want to experience both Alaska Native culture and the treasure trove of unique activities which every traveler to this ravishing land should experience.

From The Arctic Circle, to the Eskimo Olympics, the bright city of Anchorage to the gold mining town of Talkeetna, and of course Alaska’s jewel in the crown, Mount Denali… and along the way the Midnight Sun Powwow, dog-sledding, an igloo, the Northern Lights… we have it all.

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Alaska is known as the final frontier of the American West, a majestic land of stunning glaciers, rugged landscapes, and sweeping colorful valleys. Alaska is home to eleven distinct Alaska Native cultures with many tribes within each of those cultures; many of whom still live the old subsistence lifeway and speak one of twenty indigenous languages.  

One of the few places on earth where as yet Mother Nature has been left largely undisturbed so that wildlife is abundant and living in their natural state, Alaska is certainly on most people’s ‘Life List’. 

 

Indigenous peoples of Alaska traditionally lived in an expansive region beginning south of the Brooks Mountain Range down to the Kenai Peninsula and their separation by land formations created eleven distinct linguistic groups. The tribes were based along five major river-ways and migrated seasonally, traveling in small groups to fish, hunt and trap. Yet as with all Peoples of the world, similarities are greater than differences, evolving mainly around adaptation to each tribe's environment. So naturally, food, tools, homes and clothing of the cultures reflect the geography and climate of the area each group lived in.

 

And what a place to live! Studded between Alaska’s great mountain ranges are canyons, waterfalls, salmon-filled rivers, blue glaciers (100000 of them, totaling 5% of the Alaskan land base and even bluer when it’s cloudy) temperate rain forest, tundra and spectacular endless tidal coastline. At the heart of traditional tribal life is respect for all living things. It goes without saying that the family unit is very important to survival and continuity in such a challenging environment. Indeed, in the Athabaskan subsistence lifeway sharing is imperative. In some communities, even today a brother still takes responsibility for training and socializing his sister's children so that the children grow up knowing their clan history and customs.

  Tour Highlights   

 

Alaska Native music, stories, traditional foods, and the Eskimo Olympics

The story of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Inuit Throat Singing

The Alaska Railroad to Denali

Anchorage – the finest Alaska Native museum, and shopping

Boat trip to see calving glaciers and sealife… seals, sealions, sea otters and whales.

  Daily Ed-ventures   

1 - Experience Alaska Native music, stories and taste traditional foods at Tanana Chiefs Conference

2 – Gallery of Alaska at UAF to experience the Aurora and genuine sounds of Alaska & meet Muskoxen

3 - Sporting events at the World Eskimo Olympics; the Ear Pull, Knuckle Hop and the famed Blanket Toss

4 – Witness traditional Throat-singing, the Greased Pole Walk, Four Man Carry, Muktuk Eating and more

5 – Meet members of the Gwich’In Nation who are engaged in a crucial fight to save their ANWR lands

6 – Take the Alaska Railroad by glacial rivers, tundra meadows and forests heading toward Mount Denali

7 - Board the park bus for the 66 mile journey into the Denali wilderness watching for wildlife as we go
8 – Talkeetna, a true Alaskan town where you can choose fishing, ziplining, flight-seeing or hiking.
9 - Explore the most unique city in the US, surrounded by 6 mountain ranges  – Anchorage,
10 - Kenai Fjords National Park by boat to see calving tidewater glaciers, seals, sea lions, porpoises, sea otters, maybe whales.

Where: Alaska

When: Dates to be announced for 2020/2021

Tribes: Alaska First Nations

  CAN I EXTEND THIS TOUR?          

You have options to stay longer in Anchorage at the end of the tour, or you may choose to join one of the cruises that sails Alaska's Inside Passage

                                                          Tour Information                                                   

Flights

Into Fairbanks, AK and out of Anchorage, AK. Dates as above! If you follow these dates you will be arriving the night previous to the start of the tour, with hotel accommodation INCLUDED in your price.  This means you can book flights that suit you because whenever you arrive you will hop on the hotel shuttle from the airport. Same deal when you leave - you can chose your own departure time on the date noted above and will take the hotel shuttle to the airport. 

NB.    Some hotels will not allow you to book in until 4pm.

          Most hotels will ask you to leave your room by 11 am, but may store bags for you if you have a late flight out of town.
          Please do NOT book flights until your departure is confirmed.

 

​Room-sharing?

This trip is based on room sharing prices. 

 

Activity Level?

This trip is not a high activity tour, but all participants must be of reasonable fitness and be able to walk uneven paths and to take short hikes. This trip offers the opportunity to hike more strenuously on your own, and you can also opt to zilpine, but this is simply an extra OPTION. If you have special needs, please let us know - we will be able to arrange something that works for you and your needs

 

Packing List?

This will be sent to you upon payment of your balance. But thinking ahead, you will not need much 'stuff' to have a great time - we are informal - no dressing for dinner, nowhere 'posh' to go to - jeans, tees, a sweatshirt/sweater and a fleece work great. Just don't forget your passport, your credit card, sun specs and sunscreen, phone (for the camera!) and charger.
In short, please only bring what you can carry easily yourself :)

 

Reading List?

This can be sent to you on request once you have made your booking. You do not have to do 'homework' prior to your trip

...but some people like to.

 

Ecotravel

Go Native America is deeply conscious of our responsibility toward Mother Earth and wherever possible we keep miles to a minimum, energy savings to the max. But you also have to do your part. Please read our policy on sustainable tourism here

This also covers our Fair Trade Tribal Tourism mandate.

  MORE  TOURS FOR 2019 / 2020                    

Gathering of Nations - April 18-26, 2020

Southwestern culture & powwow burst forth every spring in Albuquerque. Now transferred from The Pit to its new outdoor location, the Gathering of Nations is the perfect culmination of a seven day cultural odyssey through the Native Nations of New Mexico. Explore the ancient origins of the Pueblo, Hopi and Navajo cultures, with guides who live traditional lifeways that have been preserved over the millenia.

Native Yellowstone - May 23-29, 2020

The Cheyenne, Kiowa, Shoshone, Bannock, Blackfoot, Arapaho, Nez Perce, and the most recent arrivals, the Crow , are among the twenty-seven tribes with cultural ties  to Yellowstone that each know a different story. Within these archives from ancestral memory is found a common theme – the sacred nature of the land named for the Yellow Rock Water and the connection to place, an ancient compact between the two-legged and four and the earth that sustains but is, as yet, still unmade.

I Am Lakota - May 30 - June 6,  2020

Traverse prairies to the sacred Black Hills, the barren beauty of Mako Sica, the Badlands and spend time on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, following the culture & history of the Lakota through great leaders such as Sitting Bull, Red Cloud and Crazy Horse. 
PLUS  Visit the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. 

Lakota Storyteller - Oct 3-11, 2020

Visit the sacred lands of the Lakota Sioux in the crisp, sunny weather of the fall, starting at the Lakota place of genesis – Wind Cave. Visit Pine Ridge and Wounded Knee, Paha Sapa - the sacred Black Hills, Mako Sica – the Badlands, Bear Butte, and Mato Tipila. All are sacred sites of the Oceti Sakowin and your extraordinary week celebrating Native culture culminates at the biggest powwow of the season – Oglala Nation Powwow!

Walk In Beauty - please enquire for Fall 2020 dates

Navajo philosophy is epitomized by the phrase ‘Walk In Beauty’, from the sacred prayer, the Blessing Way.  Aspiring to that spirit, we enter deep into the cultures and landscapes of the South-western tribal nations; we meet the Navajo, explore the Pueblo cultures, and the ancient wisdom keepers – the Hopi.

Apache - - please enquire for 2020/21 dates

Follow the trails of legendary Apache leaders like Geronimo, whose names and deeds reverberate through the canyons, mountains, and deserts of their homelands. Travel through history on a journey that weaves through traditional Chihuahua Apache heartland of the Dragoon and Chihuahua Mountains learning of the intricacies and diversity within Apache cultures.

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