Ancient Land: Sacred Whale : The Inuit Hunt and Its Rituals

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9780865474888: Ancient Land: Sacred Whale : The Inuit Hunt and Its Rituals
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For the Tikigaq people of Point Hope, Alaska - the oldest continuously settled Native American site on the continent - the annual cycle culminating in the spring whale hunt shaped every aspect of life for more than fifteen hundred years. The peninsula was once, according to myth, a great whale, part body and part spirit. Sustaining this myth, men and women conducted an elaborate series of rituals, from athletic contests through spirit quests and finally to the hunt itself, which filled the entire autumn and spring. Ancient Land: Sacred Whale, at once a work of anthropology and of poetry, gives an account of their lives and culture, formed in part by a long sequence of poems detailing the ritual year and its stories, narrative by the Tikigaq storytellers who were the author's teachers.

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About the Author:

Tom Lowenstein worked with storytellers in Point Hope, Alaska, between 1973 and 1988. He now lives in London with his partner and two daughters. He is currently working on a study of contact in the nineteenth century between Point Hope Inuit and Euro-Americans.

Review:

"A dazzling work of mimesis," -- Francis Spufford, London Review of Books

"There is strangeness and beauty but not a scrap of sentiment in this ice-bound pastoral, with its knife-edge consonants and brutal winds ... Lowenstein is a poet as well as a meticulous ethnographer, and as he traces the rituals of each season he mixes formal translation and direct, explanatory prose with sinewy, poetic narrative. Somehow this seems absolutely right: as unpretentious yet humorously self-aware as the gliding shifts between the sea and the land, body and spirit that makes the Inupiaq world. Great stuff." -- Jenny Uglow, The Independent

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9781846555763: Ancient Land - Sacred Whale: The Inuit Hunt, Its Rituals and Poetry

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ISBN 10:  1846555760 ISBN 13:  9781846555763
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