Don't Miss in Metlakatla
Historical Duncan Cottage Museum: The settlement's original church -- and also home to William Duncan until his death in 1918 -- this two-room museum is the place to visit for the history of the town and for more information about the Tsimshian Indians. In the back room there are photographs chronicling the building of the town; in the front room are Tsimshian artifacts such as fish hooks, spoons, a beautifully decorated bentwood box and more. Though there is signage, your Tsimshian guide can offer a much deeper explanation of everything that's there. If you're lucky, your guide will be the great-grandson of one of the town's founders, who will tell stories of his childhood and answer any questions you might have. (501 Tait Street; 907-886-3637)
Longhouse and Artist Village: While the longhouse is open to visitors, without a guided tour it is really just a big, empty building. If you're on a tour, however, the visit to the longhouse also includes a performance by a multigenerational dance troupe who perform (and explain) some native songs and dances (most of which have been written and choreographed over the last 40 or so years, as almost all of the traditional songs have been forgotten.) Next door to the longhouse is the Artist Village, with several shops (each one dedicated to a specific Tsimshian clan -- eagle, raven, wolf or killer whale) with art made by local artisans. The number of stores that are open can vary from just one to all four.
Totem Walking Tour: There are 16 totem poles located throughout Metlakatla and you can easily walk between them. A downloadable map is available on the Visit Metlakatla website. Among the totems you'll see are ones dedicated to the different clans, and one dedicated to veterans.