The Wake of the Unseen Object: Among the Native Cultures of Bush Alaska

Tom Kizzia, Author Henry Holt & Company $19.95 (277p) ISBN 978-0-8050-1471-6
Kizzia, a journalist with the Anchorage Daily News , here seeks aboriginal culture on a beat without roads: Alaska's remote Native Aleut and Eskimo villages. As he looks for bits of wisdom that ``Alaska's indigenous people remember. . . about a world that the rest of us have forgotten,'' he compiles 11 reports from communities like Mary's Igloo, Red Devil and Sleetmute that clearly represent a fractured culture. For instance, Yup'ik elders, who court hunting success with drums and dances, forbid young people to dance to rock 'n' roll because of beliefs holding that dance without purpose is sinful. Kizzia's quest proves at least a generation too late, but though his original purpose is unrealized, his encounters with Athabaskan softball teams, Yup'ik walrus hunters, and violent alcohol-related crime and death near Red Devil leave an interesting, if sometimes disturbing, wake of contradictions. Aficionados of John McPhee's Coming into the Country will be intrigued by another view of Alaska. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
Paperback - 978-0-8050-1860-8
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-0-8032-7788-5
Open Ebook - 278 pages - 978-1-4668-7853-2
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