The Alutiiq Museum grew from the Kodiak Area Native Association’s Culture and Heritage Division (KANA). In 1987, the KANA board of directors resolved that the exploration and celebration of Native culture were essential to the well-being of Alutiiq communities. To support and share cultural learning, KANA established island-wide programs to teach Alutiiq arts, study the Alutiiq language, and investigate Alutiiq history, with the vision of one day developing a museum for the Alutiiq people.

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