The four buildings of the Klukwan Traditional Knowledge Camp serve a dual purpose---the first priority is to educate the local community and guests in the traditional skills and knowledge associated with our subsistence style living, and traditional wood carving and construction. The second purpose is to provide an authentically native setting to educate visitors who are passing through and have only a short window of opportunity to learn about our culture. The camp buildings include the old style plank clan house, smoke house, fish drying shed, and adzing shed (carving shelter).
Tours and Background
During the summer months the JKHC usually has a carving project happening at the Traditional Knowledge Camp. Local carvers Jim Heaton, Joe King, and Jeffery Klanott are on-site during our tours at the camp and are available to respond to questions and tell you more about this traditional art.
The oral tradition of the Chilkat people is carried forth in our tours with our local guides sharing the story of Kaaya Haayi Hit—the building of the camp’s “All Nation” clan house and, if time, the Klukwan Founding Fathers’ story. Your senses will be delighted when you enter the camp clan house and hear the singing, drumming, see the beautiful carvings and old time construction methods and the beautiful regalia of the dancers with the scent of nearby camp fires and smokehouses wafting on the breeze. The dancers carry on the tradition of their ancestors and are happy to share the cult
Every summer the JKHC hosts two Salmon Camps, this year the camps are scheduled for July 8-12, and July 22-26. Participants in the camp learn traditional and contemporary methods of processing salmon during the 5-day camp and at the end of the week they are allowed to take their share of the harvest home. Salmon processing demonstrations and an opportunity to interact with local natives are included in some of our tour packages. Click here to register for Salmon Camp.
Lunch at the Hospitality House is one of the highlights of the Jilkaat Kwaan Tours. Local cuisine that is reflective of the local culture completes the sensory experiences offered during our tour----lightly seasoned salmon cooked over an alder fire, locally grown new potatoes or other side dish, a salad of locally grown greens or veggies, Chilkat style fried bread, and a berry dessert to finish. The Hospitality House with its spectacular views, and unique, locally crafted artworks provides the perfect setting for visitors to enjoy their meal.
This little gift shop is open during tours or by appointment. The Bentwood Box stocks locally made traditional and contemporary art works as well as Alaska made products and more. Take a few minutes to browse, you just might find the perfect gift to take back with you.
The Jilkaat Kwaan Cultural Heritage Center and Bald Eagle Observatory sits in the heart of the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve (CBEP). The CBEP covers about 23,000 acres of the Chilkat Valley and it attracts 3,000 to 4,000 Bald Eagles in the winter months. There is a substantial number of Bald Eagles that stay all year in the Chilkat Valley but the largest gatherings occur between the months of November and March. The community of Klukwan and the Heritage Center facility is surrounded by the “Council Grounds” which has the largest concentrations of these majestic birds. The jagged peaks of
Kadjisdu.áxch is the name of the artist who is credited with creating the four houseposts in the Whale House Collection: the Strong Man or Black Skin Post, The Woodworm Girl, The Sea Creature Post, and the Raven Post. The Collection also includes the woodworm feast dish and the famous Rainwall Screen. Though some credit a Tsimshian artist for creating the Rainwall Screen other scholars believe it was created by Xetsuwu, a Gaanaxteidi leader who built the great Whale House seen in the ubiquitous Winter and Pond photos of the Whale House taken in the late 1800’s. Louis Shotridge, a Tlingit
The Chilkat women did not invent the art of Chilkat Weaving, it actually came from the Tsimshian people, but there were so many gifted weavers in Klukwan during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s that the art form became known as Chilkat Weaving. The art form was nearly lost when Jennie Thlunaut, the last of Klukwan’s master weavers from her generation died in the mid 1980’s. Fortunately a group of local women have taken up the craft and are continuing the legacy. The Heritage Center Building, when completed will have studio space for local weavers to demonstrate their craft during local t