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Shem Pete's Alaska: The Territory of the Upper Cook Inlet Dena'ina
by James Kari and James A. Fall
University of Alaska Press, 2003
Cloth: 978-1-889963-56-3 | Paper: 978-1-889963-57-0 | eISBN: 978-1-60223-243-3
Library of Congress Classification E99.T185S54 2003
Dewey Decimal Classification 979.800497

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Shem Pete (1896-1989), the colorful and brilliant raconteur from Susitna Station, Alaska, left a rich legacy of knowledge about the Upper Cook Inlet Dena'ina world. Pete was one of the most versatile storytellers and historians in twentieth-century Alaska, and his lifetime travel map of approximately 13,500 square miles is one of the largest ever documented in this degree of detail anywhere in the world.

This expanded edition of Shem Pete's Alaska presents 973 named places in 16 drainage-based chapters. The names form a reconstructed network from the vantage points of the life experiences of Shem Pete and other Dena'ina and Ahtna speakers. It is annotated with comments and stories by Shem Pete and more than 50 other contributors, plus historic references, vignettes, copious photographs, historic maps, and shaded-relief placename maps. The authors provide perspective on Dena'ina language and culture, as well as a summary of Dena'ina geographic knowledge and placename research methodology.

This beautifully produced edition is a treasure for all Alaskans and for anyone interested in the "personal connectedness to a beautiful land" voiced by Dena'ina elders.

From the foreword by William Bright: "Shem Pete's experience and wisdom as an elder of the Dena'ina Athabascan Indians shine through this work like the sun—as do the skill and devotion of James Kari, James Fall, and the other Dena'ina, Ahtna, Alaska Native, and Anglo-American people who contributed to making the book a reality. . . . We have a volume that offers a vivid picture of Native Alaskan culture, history, geography, and language, with added glimpses of oral literature and music. . . . All Native American Peoples, indeed, all traditional communities in the world would be fortunate and proud to have this kind of record of their life and culture."
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