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Sitka National Historical Park

Sitka National Historical Park - BEST Places to Picnic

103 Monastery Street
Sitka, Alaska 99835

Phone
Administrative Office
(907) 747-6281
Visitor Center
(907) 747-0110

WELCOME to Sitka National Historical Park

Alaska's oldest federally designated park was established in 1910 to commemorate the 1804 Battle of Sitka. All that remains of this last major conflict between Europeans and Alaska Natives is the site of the Tlingit Fort and battlefield, located within this scenic 113 acre park in a temperate rain forest.

History

Sitka National Historical Park, Alaska's oldest federally designated park, was established as a federal park in 1890. It became a national monument in 1910 to commemorate the 1804 Battle of Sitka fought between the Tlingits and the Russians. All that remains of this last major conflict between Europeans and natives of the Northwest Coast is a clearing at the site of a Kiks.�di Fort.

A classic combination of Northwest Coast totem poles and temperate rain forest are combined on the scenic coastal trail within the park. Alaska's District Governor John G. Brady brought a collection of totem poles to Sitka in 1905. These histories carved in cedar were donated by Native leaders from villages in southeast Alaska. Many poles exhibited along the park's two miles of wooded pathways are replicas of the original totem poles.

The visitor center contains ethnographic exhibits and houses the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center, where visitors can watch Native artists at work.

The park's story continues at the Russian Bishop's House, one of the last surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America. This original 1843 log structure conveys the legacy of Russian America through exhibits, refurbished living quarters and the Chapel of the Annunciation.

Russian Bishop's House

The Russian Bishop's House is one of the few surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America. Imperial Russia was the dominant power in the North Pacific for over 125 years. Sitka (known as New Archangel at the time) was the Russian colonial capital. The Bishop's House was completed in 1842 and was the center of Russian Orthodox church authority in a diocese that stretched from California to Siberian Kamchatka.

The Church closed the Bishop's House in 1969. The spruce walls had rotted, the roof leaked, and the floors and doorways tilted. It was in danger of collapse. In 1973, the National Park Service obtained the property and began a 16 year project to restore the building to its 1853 appearance. The restored Russian Bishop's House offers visitors a chance to step back into history and feel and understand what it was like to live in Sitka during the Russian-American period.

Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center

The Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center (SEAICC) was established in 1969 to impart the cultural values of Southeast Alaska Native Culture to students and visitors. The center achieves this goal by providing a place for local Sitka Tlingits to teach themselves about their own culture, while also helping Park visitors understand the Native people whose history is part of the Park story. Although it is housed in the Park visitor center, SEAICC is an independent, non-profit Native organization.

SEAICC offers both students and visitors the opportunity to learn about Northwest Coast native art. Park visitors can view artists working and can talk to them about their craft and culture. In addition, SEAICC offers courses in traditional Tlingit art such as beadwork, weaving, bentwood box making, and box drum making.

SEAICC also sponsors special projects like the raising of the Haa leelk'u has Kaa sta heeni deiy Pole and the carving of a traditional Tlingit canoe. In 1996, the Cultural Center sponsored the carving and raising of a thirty-five foot totem pole in front of the Park's Visitor Center. The multi-clan pole was carved by local Sitka carvers to commemorate the Tlingit clans (Kaagwaantaan, Kiks.�di, and Coho) who lived in the area before the Russians came. The pole's Tlingit name means "honoring our ancestors who lived along Indian River."

Please contact the Cultural Center for additional information:

SEAICC
106 Metlakatla Street
Sitka, Alaska 99835
(907) 747-8061

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