WELCOME TO ILANKA
For generations, Native Alaskans have depended upon the rich ecosystems of Prince William Sound and the Copper River Delta. The land and waters are the source of our traditions. A mild climate, rich waters, and abundant food sources made this area a natural meeting place of diverse Native groups.
Our customs have survived thousands of years on this cultural landscape. In our homeland, we hunt and fish to feed our families. We create traditional clothing from sea otter and harbor seal. We weave beach grass and spruce roots we’ve gathered.
In 2004, the Ilanka Cultural Center opened its doors to foster the well-being of our Native cultures in the face of modern times, and to encourage people from all ethnic backgrounds to explore our traditions. We are located at 100 Nicholoff Way in Cordova, Alaska in the same facility as the Ilanka Community Wellness Center. Be sure to visit us when you are in Cordova, or browse our web site to learn more about Prince William Sound Native life and history.
The Ilanka Cultural Center honors the full heritage and culture of the Eyak, Alutiiq, Ahtna, and Tlingit peoples. We are dedicated to the revival and preservation of Native crafts and skills for future generations. Ilanka is the Alutiiq word for “family,” and we are pleased to share our heritage with you – our food and languages, art and regalia, songs and dances.
The Ilanka Cultural Center Museum preserves and exhibits a collection of prehistoric, historic and contemporary tribal artifacts from the Prince William Sound and Copper River Delta. We host annual traveling exhibits.
The Kayaks of Siberia and Alaska was recently on loan from the Alaska State Museum. This show featured six different kayak styles with models, authentic accessories, tools, charts, and maps. Currently on display, Art for Alaskans, a traveling exhibit from Alaska State Council on the Arts.
On Loan to Ilanka
Many generous community members have lent historically significant items to Ilanka Cultural Center. Tribal member Stella Jansen loaned a beautiful duck-foot basket, shown right, that has been in her family for over 100 years. It was woven by her husband Bud’s grandmother, in the village at Katalla.
Bob Henrichs, NVE president, consigned local carver Mike Webber to create a “shame pole” in 2007. This yellow cedar pole depicting the events of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill is on display in the Ilanka museum thanks to Bob’s generosity.
In July of 2000, an Orca whale became stranded and died at Hartney Bay in Cordova. A community effort salvaged his bones. In October of 2001 Mark King, Alan Marquette and Lee Post coordinated the re-articulation of the skeleton with volunteers from the Native Village of Eyak tribe, Prince William Sound Science Center and Cordova community. The complete skeleton hangs in Ilanka’s lobby and is one of five in the world on display.