Juneau (30,000), Ketchikan (14,000) and Sitka (9,000) are the major cities of Southeast. These cities, though small in population, serve as urban hubs for dozens of smaller rural towns and villages.
The streams and forests of Southeast Alaska produced an abundance fish and wildlife for the indigenous Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimpshean people of the region. With plenty of food, fresh water, and wood for home construction, the Native people of the region developed profitable trade routes and a rich culture with complex artforms, dance, and storytelling. Subsistence gathering and the preparation of traditional foods still play an important role in Native communities today. Community life is still highly organized with families linked together in historic clans and moieties. Potlatches and other community events continue to bring families together to celebrate their culture.
Residents of Southeast Alaska towns share a strong sense of community. Newcomers are always surprised by the number of things going on, even in the smallest of communities. Residents take full advantage of the excellent opportunities for fishing, boating, skiing, hiking, and other outdoor activities. While the larger communities have most of the modern amenities of towns in the "lower 48" (from shopping malls to internet access), the spirit of the traditional Alaskan subsistence lifestyle still survives - with such practices as the catching and smoking of salmon, picking berries, and deer hunting.