Saturday, April 24, 2010

Eklutna Village - Alaska

Eklutna (pronounced /ɛˈkluˈtnə/) is a native village within the Municipality of Anchorage in the United States of Alaska. The Tribal Council estimates the population at 70; many tribal members live in the surrounding communities.

Eklutna lies 24 miles northeast of Anchorage near the intersection of Mi. 142 of the Alaska Railroad and the Mile 26 of the Glenn Highway two miles from the mouth of the Eklutna River at the head of the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet.

The Dena'ina Athabascan village of Eklutna is the last of eight villages that existed before construction of the Alaskan Railroad brought an influx of American colonists around 1915. First settled more than 800 years ago, it is the oldest inhabited location in the Anchorage area. Its Dena'ina name is Idlughet ("by the objects", referring to two nearby hills); the name "Eklutna" derives from Idluytnu, the name for Eklutna River, meaning "(plural) objects river".

Russian Orthodocx missionaries arrived in the 1840s. The melding of Orthodox Christianity and native practices resulted in the brightly-colored spirit houses which can be seen at the Eklutna Cemetery, in use since 1650 and now a historical park. The cemetery is probably the most photographed graveyard in Alaska, overshadowing other features of the village.

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