Q. Any information about Eklutna? I like to know the location, population, businesses, etc. Thanks, Norb
A. The village of Eklutna is located at the head of Knik Arm in Cook Inlet, and at the mouth of the Eklutna River. This location is just 26 miles N. E. of Anchorage, at mile 26.5 of the Glenn Highway.
It’s a neat little village of about 400 Alaska natives. The village has been in use for over 800 years! It was a traditional winter village for the Dena’ina tribe (Tanaina) and others. The Russian Orthodox church has had a big influence there, as evidenced by the colorful spirit houses adorning their cemetery.
The residents depend largely on the tourist trade. The village has a nice little museum, with guided tours of the village and cemetery, a historic park, gift shop with native crafts and two chapels.
Once a summer they have a big potlatch and powwow. In fact it is coming up June 17 and 18. There will be native dancing, drumming, storytelling, and arts and crafts. Other tribes such as Athabaskan, Inupiaq, Yupik, Tlingit and Aleuts participate too
In the summertime, when we travel to Anchorage, we always slow down and wave to the Indians sitting atop the big bank by the side of the road. On top that bank is the village of Eklutna. The natives have a pretty neat way of spending a summer day. They have a line of couches and easy chairs sitting on top the bank. Just like the kind you’d have in your living room. Usually there are two or three of them sitting there, swapping stories of the good old days, and waving to the traffic.
If you want to read more about the village of Eklutna, go to www.eklutna-nsn.gov
When someone says ‘Eklutna’ they also might mean the big hydro-electric project furnished by Eklutna lake, and the big dam built by the federal government bureau of reclamation in 1965. The lake is fed by Eklutna Glacier. The dam furnishes power for a wide area.
I’m going to the potlatch the Saturday the 17th. Better dig out my dancin’ shoes! See you there. -BJ