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National Sampler:
Selections from Alaska Collections

Huskies pulling a sled with a man runnning alongside.
Huskies on the trail, Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Alaska, March 1998. Photo by Jeff Schultz. Local Legacies Project Collection [AFC 2000/001].

The largest of America's fifty states, Alaska is located on the northwest corner of the North American mainland, but is separated from the "lower forty-eight" by Canada's Yukon Territories and province of British Columbia. Any description of Alaska must be rich in impressive statistics: of America's twenty largest mountains, seventeen are in Alaska; the state boasts more than three thousand rivers and over three million lakes; and Alaska has 6,640 miles of coastline — actually, 33,904 miles of shoreline, counting the islands. It is also America's least densely populated state, but its 700,000 residents enjoy the riches of its diverse cultural heritage.

The American Folklife Center's earliest Alaskan recording is a 1903 wax cylinder of Tlingit music. Other Alaskan Native American groups represented in the collection include the Ahtna, Aleut, Haida, Ingalik, Inuit, and Tlingit. The Archive also holds recordings of stories, songs, recitations, and oral histories of more recent settlers, recorded in the 1940s and later.

The following examples include folklife interviews, songs, ballads, instrumental music, and oral histories from various collections. This sampler serves as an overview and introduction to the American Folklife Center's extensive holdings documenting this state's cultural heritage. For a more complete list of the Center's Alaska collections, see the finding aid Alaska Collections in the Archive of Folk Culture.

For more information about the American Folklife Center's Alaska collections and services, go to Folklife in Your State: Alaska.

Browse the Alaska Audio and Video Samples and Notes (11 tracks)

The audio examples are in mp3 format. There is one digital video recording.


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   May 15, 2015
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