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The Hands Feel It: Healing and Spirit Presence among a Northern Alaskan People
by Edith Turner
Northern Illinois University Press, 1996
Cloth: 978-0-87580-212-1 | Paper: 978-0-87580-573-3
Library of Congress Classification E99.E7T826 1996
Dewey Decimal Classification 299.781


In a treeless land far north of the Arctic Circle, the Iñupiat live immensely practical lives, yet they have a profound belief in the spirit world. For them, everything—whether living being or inanimate object—has a spirit. This outlook reflects their sense of the connectedness of all life.

The Hands Feel It is the account of one person's experience among the Iñupiat. Anthropologist Edith Turner records occurrences of healing, spirit manifestation, and premonition in her narrative of a year in the life of an Eskimo community. Her diary captures for the reader sea ice, tundra, gravel beaches, and a determined and cheerful population. Sights, sounds, and even smells that Turner encounters provide context for a study in tune with the spiritual.

Accounts that ethnographers have often termed "myth" and "legend" Turner sees from a different point of view—not as mere stories but as real events the Iñupiat sincerely report to her. The value of Turner's work originates in her own connection to spirituality and in the growing receptiveness of the Iñupiat to her.

See other books on: Alaska | Ethnology | Fieldwork | Healing | Medicine
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