The Local Alaskan: Incredible Native Woodworking From A Master Carver

See 10,000 years of indigenous Alaskan history in a local artisan’s traditional wood carvings.
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We recently announced that Ovation of the Seas will head to Alaska for the 2019-2020 cruise season. This will bring you whole new views of the sprawling mountains, forests and glaciers, joining Radiance of the Seas with its acres of ocean-facing windows.

Travelers on Ovation’s new Alaska cruises can discover even more than the expansive wilderness though. You’ll have a chance to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience indigenous Alaskan traditions, like the artistic woodworking of the Tlingit people by master carver Wayne Price. Here’s a look at what goes into his intricate creations and his incredible story as an Alaskan:

Tracing His Roots

The heart of Wayne’s art is the native cedar tree — which represents the backbone of Alaskan Tlingit culture. He transforms them into totem poles, dugout canoes, headpieces, masks, paddles and several other artworks you may find in the Last Frontier. The tribes of the Tlingit people still have a vibrant presence in Alaska with their homes spanning the southern islands and coastal regions. Their art, with its signature bold black lines and swaths of reds and blues, depict animals and mythology and have gained notoriety thanks to the signature totem poles prevalent around the region—like those found at Saxman Native Totem Village.

Seeing It Yourself

Alaska cruises will get you up close to Wayne’s art and 10,000 years of Tlingit history, community and ceremonies.

While docked in Juneau for example, after a tour of the Mendenhall Glacier or a salmon bake, you may consider exploring the city on your own and look for Wayne’s work at the Sealaska Heritage Institute. Hand carved with a traditional adze, Wayne worked daily for five months to make nearly one million cuts on more than 3,200 square feet of wood while building a traditional clan house for a wing at the Institute. Some of his other works may be found at the center as well, including wooden hats used in ceremonial Tlingit dances.

If you cruising on Radiance of the Seas and flying in or out of Anchorage, Alaska, home to the largest airport in the state, you can easily extend your vacation for another chance to see some of Wayne’s work. The Alaska Native Heritage Center is home to one of his impressive dugout canoes, similar to the one he is shown paddling in the first episode of The Local: Alaska series.

If you’re further inspired by the beauty of this master’s traditional hand carvings, in Ketchikan you can visit a Tlingit clan house to view striking totem poles that Tlingit people made by hand.

Adventure Abounds

Of course, there’s plenty to see and do on a trip to Alaska, and alongside cultural explorations, you can also interact with the expansive nature by dog sledding, whale watching and even glacier climbing.

While taking an Alaska cruise on board Ovation of the Seas, which leaves from Seattle in the warmer months from May through September, you’ll be connected with the surrounding land as well, like the Dawes Glacier. You can even take in the sights while 300 feet above sea level in the ship’s towering observation capsule – the North Star. If you’re cruising on Radiance of the Seas, leaving from Seward, Alaska and Vancouver, British Columbia between May and August, you’ll be able to head to a Tlingit tribal dance performance from Icy Strait Point and spot wildlife in the Inside Passage.

Ready to chart your next adventure to the Last Frontier? Check out your options to see the wild and immerse yourself in local Alaskan culture by planning your next trip here.