Ketchikan, Alaska: The Greatest Place To Stand Among Totem Poles And Cedar Pole Culture
Ketchikan, Alaska Fame
First City founded in Alaska by European-Americans
A Top 100 Small Arts Community in USA
An Alaskan economic and shipping Hub
Largest National Forest in the USA
A Best Place for Fishing
Most Bald Eagles in the world
Largest Collections of carved red cedar poles.
A "Great Place to Stand" for photographs
Expansion In the Alaskan Panhandle
An earthquake shook Anchorage in the central range of the Alaskan Gulf in mid-June 2011, but Ketchikan, named after an important local creek, is on the Southeast side of the state, reaching down toward the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia.
The creek is part of the Historic Creek Street District downtown and is on a two-hour walking tour of the city. A bridge across the creek takes visitors past the dance hall and former brothels of the Alaskan lumber and fishing settlement era and offers entertaining stories from guides.
The Panhandle Is To the Southeast, Along British Columbia
A part of the Alaskan Panhandle and the American part of the Inside Passage used by early European explorers and later shipping companies, Ketchikan is the southernmost city of sizable population in Alaska.
This city has been called the Salmon Capital of the World.
In addition to this distinction, Ketchikan's Totem Heritage Park was chosen by readers' votes in 2009 at StoodThere.com as the 79th Greatest Place to Stand in America, to take pictures, particularly selfies.
American Portion Of the Panhandle's Inside Passage
Indigenous Cedar Pole Cultures
Carved Cedar Pole Cultures
Ketchikan is home to two other carved pole collections/installations, including Saxman Village and Totem Bight State Park. Carved poles can also be found in Sitka and a few other spots in this sector of Alaska, altogether being fairly close to the Queen Charlottes and the rest of British Columbia in which poles carved from red cedar are prominent in history and current arts and culture.
Yellow cedar and other woods have been carved as well, but red cedar is the traditional favorite. The Indigenous North American Peoples - First Nations and and Native Americans that have led the pole carving tradition in this area have been the Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian in America and BC, Kwakiutl in BC, and some other groups.
One of the most famous cedar pole master carvers in history, Mungo Martin, was Kwakiutl and his wife, a Tlingit -- he combined power animals, or "totems" as we call them, of both Kawakiutl and Tlingit cultures in some single poles. He also carved replicas of Haida poles in his special position with the University of Vancouver and its Department of Anthropology. Martin combined the crests or totems of four nations in a single pole for an installation in Victoria BC as well.
Ranking after the largest numbers of carved poles made from before 1700 to date in the Queen Charlottes, Vancouver Island, and other portions of British Columbia; Ketchikan and the arm of land it occupies has produced the next highest numbers of carved poles in North America. Some poles reside in Washington State and a few in Oregon. Most of the rest standing in the USA were commissioned from native and non-native carvers for art installations, campgrounds, museums, and amusement parks.
Cedar poles have been commissioned from British Columbia's Indigenous master carvers for nations as far away as the UK and other destinations. Indigenous poles of earlier histories than the Pacific Northwest, in the Old World, have been carved by Indigenous Peoples in Amur, Japan, New Zealand, Korea, Polynesia, and elsewhere.
Community House at Mud Bight Village: State and National Historic Site
Totem Heritage Center
Totem Heritage Center
Tongass Historical Museum and Ketchikan Totem Heritage Center are approximately 2,000 feet from each another east-to-west in the central part of the city. The museum is lodged within the Ketchikan First Cities Public Library and expects to take over the entire property for a new, large museum complex after the library completes is building project at another site, likely in 2013.
Several sources call the collection of carved poles at the Totem Heritage Center the largest worldwide in a single spot. Some native cemeteries that include carved poles may, in fact, have a larger number - one perhaps in Alert Bay in the Queen Charlotte Islands. Vancouver also has a large installation of carved poles. Overall, those in the Alaskan collection are older, 19th C. poles that were recovered from abandoned villages by the state and federal governments for preservation in the early part of the 20th C. Other poles, replicas, were carved by native peoples in the CCC under WPA programs of the Depression-Era Franklin D. Roosevelt presidential administration; a nice addition to the development of US national parks.
A number of guided tours are available to the three carved pole collections in Ketchikan and those at the Heritage Center and Saxman Village may be combined with wildlife tours featuring local native animals and plants. Bald Eagles are often sighted in the panhandle -- In Downtown Ketchikan near the library and Creek Street are both a Salmon Run and a native-run Eagle Center (American Bald Eagles and other raptors) where both aerial and water wildlife can be seen. Salmon run to spawn from June through September.
Wilderness and Indigenous Sites: International Year of Forests
- Tongass National Forest - Welcome!
Tongass National Forest - covers the Alaskan Panhandle. Largest national forest in the USA.
- Wilderness.net - Misty Fjords National Monument Wilderness
Misty Fjords National Monument Wilderness and Wildlife Area includes 2,294,343 acres on the southern tip of the Alaska Panhandle, all but about 156,000 acres near the middle have ...
- Ketchikan Indian Community - Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery & Eagle Center
"Alaska has the highest population of Bald Eagles in the WORLD!"
Indigenous Heritage Sites
Local Jobs and Business
Attractive Jobs In Healthcare, Technology and Tourism
TRAVEL NURSES and other travel healthcare professions are needed in the City of Ketchikan and its borough or county of Ketchikan Gateway, including 15,000 residents. Needed are licensed RNs and LPNS, Physical and Occupational Therapists, and others, even Physicians. The interesting thing about "traveling" is the extra perks and benefits:
- Higher Pay than average.
- Housing Allowance/mortgage payments for up to 12 months of service in a city.
- Travel Reimbursement to the city of work, and many more offerings.
Tourism is a major contributor to the local economy in addition to the Healthcare Industry. When the new Tongass Historical Museum opened in 2013, publicity and events surrounding its official opening were akin to those when the Smithsonian Institution Museum of the American Indian opened in 2005, though on a smaller scale.
I think that a festival of Pacific Northwest and Alaskan cultures is becoming more popular in this part of Alaska, as well as neighboring British Columbia, complete with master carving demonstrations and other native arts, all of which will further increase interest in the Indigenous Peoples of this area and their businesses.
All this will expand the usual tourist enterprises like hotels, tours, dining places, retail sales and other cultural events. Native cultures in the Pacific Northwest are receiving not only increased attention, but also increased support in their business pursuits, along with more visitors.
Local Education and Training
- Ketchikan Campus | Alaska Universities | Experts in Distance Education| University of Alaska Southea
2600 7th Ave, Ketchikan, AK 99901
Top Hiring Companies
- Safeway - Supermarkets
- RNTravelWeb & AlliedTravelWeb.com - Travel Healthcare
- Trident Seafoods Corporation
- AT&T Retail
- American Mobile Healthcare
- Supplemental Health Care
- Medical Express
- Cirrus Medical Staffing
- Wells Fargo
Top 10 High Demand Jobs
- Operating Room Nurses - RNs
- AT&T Full Time Retail Sales Consultant
- Full Time Retail Sales Consultant
- Nurse Manager - Registered Nurse/RN
- ID Check - Mystery Shopping
- Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)
- Relief Nurses - RNs
- Quality Assurance Technicians
- Speech Therapists and Assistants
- Aircraft Dispatchers
- Others: Accountants, Child Care Staff, Tellers, Security Officers
© 2011 Patty Inglish MS