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North to Alaska - Full Version - Day 55 (July 10)

Saturday - After breakfast at a locally popular diner served by a locally popular waitress (Ben had a "Kitchen Sink Omelette"), we toured the extremely impressive, newly opened on July 4, Wrangell Museum. There were multi-media, multi-room exhibits reaching from pre-history through Russian, Spanish (They were interested in the northwest also.) and U.S. time periods. Again we did our duty (pun), buying books, calendars, cards, and a pair of earrings. Then we found Chief Shakes Island, over a wooden bridge, across a small fishing-boat channel to a Tlingit lodge surrounded by several wonderful, intricately carved totems. These were representations of various legends, mostly concerning how the earth began. The Tlingits must have been quite a group. They had a plentiful supply of salmon and they planted crops (mostly corn and potatoes) which didn't require much care, so they had a relatively easy life and lots of free time. They worked on the totems, built lodges and fought wars in an effort to expand their territory and capture slaves. Occasionally, on certain days of the year, a tribe celebrated by throwing a huge party called a Potlatch, inviting everyone around, to show their importance and power. They gave lavish (for them) gifts to the guests and, to show how rich they were, they killed a few of their own slaves (including some Russian sailors). Another early ferry tomorrow, so nighty-nite.