Looking Both Ways: Heritage & Identity of the Alutiiq People.

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9781889963310: Looking Both Ways: Heritage & Identity of the Alutiiq People.
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This book is an extraordinary introduction to the indigenous peoples and vital cultures of Alaska's southcentral coast. Combining oral tradition, history, and archaeology, the volume traces the Alutiiq path through ancestral generations to contemporary life, including today's compelling issues of cultural identity and autonomy. It is beautifully and heavily illustrated by Alutiiq art, objects, and images from the current museum exhibition on Alutiiq peoples that is now touring Alaska.

Diversity is one of the signal points of this volume: no one voice, and no single approach, could define what it means to be Alutiiq. The many contributors discuss Alutiiq relations with neighboring Alaska Native peoples and with non-Native traders and invaders, with the sea and land, with place and time, and with animals and spirit. Writers include Alutiiq writers, elders, scholars, and storytellers convey a many-sided sense of cultural values and beliefs, even as they recall the struggle to survive more than two centuries of Russian and Euro-American domination. From anthropologists and historians come insights into the great originality of Alutiiq culture as well as its debt to formative influences from around the North Pacific. Seen from these many perspectives, Alutiiq identity emerges as a rich mosaic of people, location, and experience.

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About the Author:

Aron L. Crowell is Alaska director of the Arctic Studies Center, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution in Anchorage.

Amy F. Steffian is deputy director of the Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository in Kodiak, Alaska.

Gordon L. Pullar is director of the Department of Alaska Native and Rural Development, College of Rural Alaska, University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

From Library Journal:

This richly illustrated exhibition catalog is the result of a conscious partnership between anthropologists and the Alutiiq Indians of the southern Alaskan coast and the islands stretching from the Alaskan Peninsula to Prince William Sound. Its purpose is not only to document their cultural heritage but to revitalize a sense of identity that has been fractured by incursions from Russia, Scandinavia, and the United States. The Alutiiq participated in setting research priorities that could help them understand their previous accomplishments and reconstruct forgotten customs. As one craftsman puts it, "I like to feel the flow of ancient characteristics pass through me and express to the world who we were and are." This attractive coffee-table book focuses on material culture, making it most useful for those interested in Indian art. But because it covers archaeology, history, and oral tradition as well, it should both inform scholarly discussion and raise pressing issues. Recommended for museum libraries, high school and junior college libraries, and some senior college and public libraries. Jay H. Bernstein, Fordham Univ. Lib., Bronx, NY Biography
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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