Across the Shaman’s River is the story of one of Alaska’s last Native American strongholds, a Tlingit community closed off for a century until a fateful encounter between a shaman, a preacher, and John Muir.
Tucked in the corner of Southeast Alaska, the Tlingits had successfully warded off the Anglo influences that had swept into other corners of the territory. This tribe was viewed by European and American outsiders as the last wild tribe and a frustrating impediment to access. Missionaries and prospectors alike had widely failed to bring the Tlingit into their power. Yet, when John Muir arrived in 1879, accompanied by a fiery preacher, it only took a speech about “brotherhood”—and some encouragement from the revered local shaman Skandoo’o—to finally transform these “hostile heathens.”
Using Muir’s original journal entries, as well as historic writings of explorers juxtaposed with insights from contemporary tribal descendants, Across the Shaman’s River reveals how Muir’s famous canoe journey changed the course of history and had profound consequences on the region’s Native Americans.
For centuries, the Akulmiut people—a Yup’ik group—have been sustained by the annual movements of whitefish. It is a food that sustains and defines them. To this day, many Akulmiut view not only their actions in the world, but their interactions with each other, as having a direct and profound effect on these fish. Not only are fish viewed as responding to human action and intention in many contexts, but the lakes and rivers fish inhabit are likewise viewed as sentient beings, with the ability to respond both positively and negatively to those who travel there.
This bilingual book details the lives of the Akulmiut living in the lake country west of Bethel, Alaska, in the villages of Kasigluk, Nunapitchuk, and Atmautluak. Akulmiut Neqait is based in conversations recorded with the people of these villages as they talk about their uniquely Yup'ik view of the world and how it has weathered periods of immense change in southwest Alaska. While many predicted that globalization would sound the death knoll for many distinctive traditions, these conversations show that Indigenous people all over the planet have sought to appropriate the world in their own terms. For all their new connectedness, the continued relevance of traditional admonitions cannot be denied.
In 2009 Alaska celebrates its fiftieth anniversary of U.S. statehood. To commemorate that milestone, Alaskaat 50 brings together some of today’s most noteworthy and recognizable writers and researchers to address the past, present, and future of Alaska. Divided into three overarching sections—art, culture, and humanities; law, economy, and politics; and environment, people, and place—Alaskaat 50 is written in highly accessible prose. Illustrations and photographs of significant artefacts of Alaska history enliven the text. Each contributor brings a strong voice and prescription for the next fifty years, and the resulting work presents Alaskans and the nation with an overview of Alaska statehood and ideas for future development.
Over the course of the past two hundred years, only one United States territory has experienced foreign occupation: Alaska. Available for the first time in paperback, Alaska at War brings readers face to face with the North Pacific front in World War II. Wide-ranging essays cover the war as seen by Alaskan eyes, including the Japanese invasion of the Attu and Kiska islands, the effects of the war on Aleutian Islanders, and the American campaign to recover occupied territory. Whether you’re a historian or a novice student interested in this pivotal period of American history, Alaska at War provides fascinating insight into the background, history, and cultural impact of war on the Alaskan homefront.
Cod is one of the most widely consumed fish in the world. For many years, the Atlantic cod industry took center stage, but partly thanks to climate change and overfishing, it is more and more likely that the cod on your kitchen table or in your fast food fish fillets came from Alaska’s Pacific Cod Fishery.
Alaska Codfish Chronicle is the first comprehensive history of this fishery. It looks at the early decades of the fishery’s history, a period marked by hardship and danger, as well as the dominance of foreign fishermen. And the modern era, beginning in 1976 when the United States claimed an exclusive economic zone around the Alaska coasts, “Americanizing” the fishery and replacing the foreign fleets that had been ravaging the resources in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. Today, the Pacific cod fishery is, in terms of poundage, the second largest fishery in Alaska, and considered among the best-managed fisheries in the world.
This history is extremely well documented, does not spare details, and is accessible to general readers. It incorporates nearly a hundred photographs and illustrations and is sprinkled with numerous observations from fishing industry journals and reports, even incorporating poems and recipes, making this an especially thorough and unique account of one of Alaska’s most iconic and important industries.
Alaska Eskimo Footwear
Jill Oakes and Rick Riewe University of Alaska Press, 2006 Library of Congress E99.E7O213 2007 | Dewey Decimal 979.8004971
Alaska Eskimo Footwear celebrates the incredible beauty and spiritual significance of the shoes and boots worn by Alaska Native peoples. Stunning photography brings the harsh and striking environment of the North alive and demonstrates how essential footwear was to native survival, while Eskimo seamstresses, dancers, and hunters explain the symbolic meaning of their traditional patterns and decorative details. This full-color volume features photographs from museum collections in Canada, the United States, and Russia, as contributors from each major Alaska Eskimo group—Inupiaq, Yup’ik, Alutiiq, and St. Lawrence Islander—discuss skin preparation, boot construction, and decoration. A tribute to exquisite art and the women who practice it, Alaska Eskimo Footwear brings the beauty of the North—and its traditional wares—to life.
The growth of modern-day Alaska began with the Klondike gold discovery in 1896. Over the course of the next two decades, as prospectors, pioneers, and settlers rushed in, Alaska developed its agricultural and mineral resources, birthed a structure of highway and railroad transportation, and founded the Alaska cities we know today. All this activity occurred alongside the Progressive Age in American politics. It was a time of widespread reform, as Progressive politicians took on the powerful business trusts and enacted sweeping reforms to protect workers and consumers. Alaska in the Progressive Age looks at how this national movement affected the Alaska territory. Though the reigning view is that Alaska was neglected and even abused by the federal government, Alton argues that from 1896 to 1916 the territory benefitted richly in the age of Progressive Democracy. As the population of Alaska grew, Congress responded to the needs of the nation’s northern possession, giving the territory a delegate to Congress, a locally elected legislature, and ultimately in 1914, the federally funded Alaska Railroad.
Much has been written about the development of modern-day Alaska, especially in terms of the Gold Rush and the origins of the Alaska Railroad. But this is the first history to put this era in the context of Progressive Age American politics. This unexplored look at how Progressivism reached the furthest corners of the United States is an especially timely book as the Progressive Movement shows signs of affecting Alaska again.
Making up more than ten percent of Alaska's population, Native Alaskans are the state's largest minority group. Yet most non-Native Alaskans know surprisingly little about the histories and cultures of their indigenous neighbors, or about the important issues they face. This concise book compiles frequently asked questions and provides informative and accessible responses that shed light on some common misconceptions. With responses composed by scholars within the represented communities and reviewed by a panel of experts, this easy-to-read compendium aims to facilitate a deeper exploration and richer discussion of the complex and compelling issues that are part of Alaska Native life today.
Alaska is home to more than two hundred federally recognized tribes. Yet the long histories and diverse cultures of Alaska’s first peoples are often ignored, while the stories of Russian fur hunters and American gold miners, of salmon canneries and oil pipelines, are praised. Filled with essays, poems, songs, stories, maps, and visual art, this volume foregrounds the perspectives of Alaska Native people, from a Tlingit photographer to Athabascan and Yup’ik linguists, and from an Alutiiq mask carver to a prominent Native politician and member of Alaska’s House of Representatives. The contributors, most of whom are Alaska Natives, include scholars, political leaders, activists, and artists. The majority of the pieces in The Alaska Native Reader were written especially for the volume, while several were translated from Native languages.
The Alaska Native Reader describes indigenous worldviews, languages, arts, and other cultural traditions as well as contemporary efforts to preserve them. Several pieces examine Alaska Natives’ experiences of and resistance to Russian and American colonialism; some of these address land claims, self-determination, and sovereignty. Some essays discuss contemporary Alaska Native literature, indigenous philosophical and spiritual tenets, and the ways that Native peoples are represented in the media. Others take up such diverse topics as the use of digital technologies to document Native cultures, planning systems that have enabled indigenous communities to survive in the Arctic for thousands of years, and a project to accurately represent Dena’ina heritage in and around Anchorage. Fourteen of the volume’s many illustrations appear in color, including work by the contemporary artists Subhankar Banerjee, Perry Eaton, Erica Lord, and Larry McNeil.
Nearly two million people visit Alaska every year, drawn to its spectacular views and endless activities. But with such size and so many options, it can seem overwhelming when it comes to planning a family vacation to the 49th state. The best place to start? With a local, of course.
Journalist and Alaska resident Erin Kirkland knows every corner of the state, and she has crossed thousands of miles with her son. In Alaska on the Go, she offers a fresh take on exploring some of the most beautiful land in the world, with tips and tricks that only an insider knows. Serving as the perfect tour guide, Kirkland identifies the best and most kid-friendly destinations in cities across Alaska. She offers practical advice on everything from restaurants to rest stops and from weather surprises to wild animals. Photos, maps, and sample itineraries make it easy for parents to plan a trip that will delight and entertain everyone.
The only family travel guide to Alaska written by a current Alaskan, Alaska on the Go makes the state more accessible than ever. Whether traveling via car, cruise ship, or dogsled, this practical, portable guide will open up a new world of memorable adventures.
Every year, nearly two million tourists visit Alaska, and at least half of them spend time exploring the state’s waterways. For families that want to do so in a more independent fashion than a cruise ship or guided tour would allow, Erin Kirkland has written the perfect guide to navigating the state’s unique ferry system.
A staple of coastal transportation since the 1950s, the Alaska Marine Highway System is a vital link to cities that are often inaccessible except by air. Alaska on the Go offers fascinating accounts of both the small coastal towns and the larger population centers serviced by the highway along with easy-to-navigate route descriptions, helpful packing lists, and tips for inland and onboard adventures. Portable and personable, and covering all thirty routes that make up the Alaska Marine Highway System, Alaska on the Go is the perfect companion for the intrepid traveler.
Politics in Alaska have changed significantly since the last major book on the subject was published more than twenty years ago, with the rise and fall of Sarah Palin and the rise and fall of oil prices being but two of the many developments to alter the political landscape.
This book, the most comprehensive on the subject to date, focuses on the question of how beliefs, institutions, personalities, and power interact to shape Alaska politics and public policy. Drawing on these interactions, the contributors explain how and why certain issues get dealt with successfully and others unsuccessfully, and why some issues are taken up quickly while others are not addressed at all. This comprehensive guide to the political climate of Alaska will be essential to anyone studying the politics of America’s largest—and in some ways most unusual—state.
This aptly named book contains 22 selections by John Muir, John McPhee, Barry Lopez, and others on Alaska and to some extent on the neighboring Yukon, accompanied by a small but evocative collection of photographs of Eskimos. The pieces, most of which are top-notch, vividly describe the harsh climate, the Arctic and sub-Arctic habitats, and the animals of Alaska, and tell the stories of the Native Americans and others who have made their home or worked in the North. This excellent sampler of some of the best writing on Alaska is recommended for academic and, especially, public libraries.
Alaska Trees and Shrubs
Les Viereck University of Alaska Press, 2007 Library of Congress QK146.V54 2007 | Dewey Decimal 582.1609798
Alaska Trees and Shrubs has been the definitive work on the woody plants of Alaska for more than three decades. This new, completely revised second edition provides updated information on habitat, as well as detailed descriptions of every tree or shrub species in the state. New distribution maps reflect the latest survey data, while the keys, glossary, and appendix on non-native plants make this the most useful guide to Alaska trees and shrubs ever published.
Elizabeth B. Pinson shares with us her memories of Alaska's emergence into a new and modern era, bearing witness to history in the early twentieth century as she recalls it. She draws us into her world as a young girl of mixed ethnicity, with a mother whose Eskimo family had resided on the Seward Peninsula for generations and a father of German heritage. Growing up in and near the tiny village of Teller on the Bering Strait, Elizabeth at the age of six, despite a harrowing, long midwinter sled ride to rescue her, lost both her legs to frostbite when her grandparents, with whom she was spending the winter in their traditional Eskimo home, died in the 1918 influenza epidemic.
Fitted with artificial legs financed by an eastern benefactor, Elizabeth kept journals of her struggles, triumphs, and adventures, recording her impressions of the changing world around her and experiences with the motley characters she met. These included Roald Amundsen, whose dirigible landed in Teller after crossing the Arctic Circle; the ill-fated 1921 British colonists of Wrangel Island in the Arctic; trading ship captains and crews; prospectors; doomed aviators; and native reindeer herders. Elizabeth moved on to boarding school, marriage, and the state of Washington, where she compiled her records into this memoir and where she lived until her death in 2006.
Outdoor tourism is one of Alaska’s biggest industries, and the thousands of people who flock to the state’s dramatic landscapes and pristine waters to hunt and fish are supported by a large and growing network of guides, lodges, outfitters, and wildlife biologists.
This book honors more than sixty of those remarkably colorful characters, past and present, people whose incredible skills were their calling cards, but whose larger-than-life personalities were what people remember after the trip is over. Taken together, these portraits offer a history of outdoor life in Alaska and celebrate its incredible natural beauty—and the people who devote their lives to helping us enjoy it.
On the eve of World War II, the national interests of Japan, the United States, and the Soviet Union collided in the North Pacific.
Alaska's Hidden Wars tells the story of the war in the North Pacific, a story of savage weather, isolation, and sacrifice.
Two island chains, the Aleutians and the Kuriles, became the focus of a series of major campaigns that pitted the Americans against the Japanese. Alaska's Hidden Wars chronicles the role of Japanese-American intelligence specialists and reveals a Japanese eyewitness account of the defense of Attu. Two virtually unknown aspects of the North Pacific war are also exposed: the brutal North Pacific weather and the imprisonment of American airmen in Kamchatka.
In 1942, the Japanese raided Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands and occupied the islands of Kiska and Attu. The Americans mounted a vigorous campaign, and the Japanese retreated to the Kuriles. For the next two years, the Americans launched air raids and fleet bombardments, while American soldiers maintained lonely outposts along Aleutian coasts. But in 1945, when Japan finally surrendered, the Kuriles were taken, not by the waiting Americans, but by the Soviets.
Alaska's Hidden Wars is a fast-moving history that brings declassified archival sources to light and draws the reader into the lonely, bitter war fought in the North Pacific.
An Aleutian Ethnography
Lucien Turner University of Alaska Press, 2008 Library of Congress E99.A34T874 2008 | Dewey Decimal 979.800497
Lucien Turner was a pioneering nineteenth-century ethnographer whose study of Aleut communities surpassed the work of all of his contemporaries, and now his rare writings are collected here for the first time. Turner’s admittedly fragmentary ethnographic notes, which chronicle his complete immersion in three Aleut communities, reveal valuable insights into Aleutian cultures and the outsiders who lived among them in the nineteenth century. Carefully edited by Ray Hudson, An Aleutian Ethnography is an essential resource for scholars of American history and history of anthropology alike.
Sonja Luehrmann’s volume examines Alutiiq history within the larger context of Russian and American expansionism. The author uses source material in both English and Russian in order to create a work focused on the intersection of the two colonial perspectives—throwing light on our understanding of the differences in the way each society incorporated the Alutiiq community, both as a labor force and a social entity. In a series of map essays, Luehrmann examines the changing patterns of settlement and demography among the Alutiiq as the population responded to the conditions they encountered: economic exploitation, new cultural influences, intermarriage, disease, and the eruption of Novarupta. The addition of Russian source material fills an important blank in this unique history and makes Alutiiq Villages Under Russian and U.S. Rule a major resource for anyone working on Alutiiq history or the region’s history in the Russian colonial period.
During the last Ice Age, a thousand-mile-wide land bridge connected Siberia and Alaska, creating the region known as Beringia. Over twelve thousand years ago, a procession of large mammals and the humans who hunted them crossed this bridge to America. Much of the Russian evidence for this migration has until now remained largely inaccessible to American scholars. American Beginnings brings together for the first time in one volume the most up-to-date archaeological and palaeoecological evidence on Beringia from both Russia and America.
"An invaluable resource. . . . It will no doubt remain the key reference book for Beringia for many years to come."—Steven Mithen, Journal of Human Evolution
"Extraordinary. The fifty-six contributors . . . represent the most prominent American and Russian researchers in the region."—Choice
"Publication of this well-illustrated compendium is a great service to early American and especially Siberian Upper Paleolithic archaeology."—Nicholas Saunders, New Scientist
"This is a great book . . . perhaps the greatest contribution to the archaeology of Beringia that has yet been published. . . . This is the kind of book to which archaeology should aspire."—Herbert D.G. Maschner, Antiquity
Alaska’s wolves lost their fiercest advocate, Gordon Haber, when his research plane crashed in Denali National Park in 2009. Passionate, tenacious, and occasionally brash, Haber, a former hockey player and park ranger, devoted his life to Denali’s wolves.
He weathered brutal temperatures in the wild to document the wolves and provided exceptional insights into wolf behavior. Haber’s writings and photographs reveal an astonishing degree of cooperation between wolf family members as they hunt, raise pups, and play, social behaviors and traditions previously unknown. With the wolves at risk of being destroyed by hunting and trapping, his studies advocated for a balanced approach to wolf management. His fieldwork registered as one of the longest studies in wildlife science and had a lasting impact on wolf policies.
Haber’s field notes, his extensive journals, and stories from friends all come together in Among Wolves to reveal much about both the wolves he studied and the researcher himself. Wolves continue to fascinate and polarize people, and Haber’s work continues to resonate.
This classic is an original work of literature by one of America's foremost conservationists and is an account of the people of the north, both Native and white, who give Alaska its special human flavor. First published over fifty years ago, the book is still a favorite among old-time Alaskans and, over the years, has prompted numerous readers to pack up and move to Alaska.
The richness of statistical coverage in this book, and Marshall's careful descriptions of the characters he met, provide readers with a window to the world of 1930 and a nearly complete record of the Koyukuk civilization as he saw it. Readers learn what the people of Wiseman thought about sex, religion, politics, and the myriad of ways they found to cope with and enjoy life in a wilderness community.
In the quiet of morning, exactly six months after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese touched down on American soil. Landing on the remote Alaska island of Attu, they assailed an entire village, holding the Alaskan villagers for two months and eventually corralling all survivors into a freighter bound for Japan.
One of those survivors, Nick Golodoff, became a prisoner of war at just six years old. He was among the dozens of Unangan Attu residents swept away to Hokkaido, and one of only twenty-five to survive. Attu Boy tells Golodoff’s story of these harrowing years as he found both friendship and cruelty at the hands of the Japanese. It offers a rare look at the lives of civilian prisoners and their captors in WWII-era Japan. It also tells of Golodoff’s bittersweet return to a homeland torn apart by occupation and forced internments. Interwoven with other voices from Attu, this richly illustrated memoir is a testament to the struggles, triumphs, and heartbreak of lives disrupted by war.