Future generations of Inupiat will appreciate this collection as a touchstone back to their relatives and the stories that they told. The collection adds documentation to the growing record of oral literature from the region. Anderson's 52 page introduction will be referenced as a guide to Inupiaq storytelling.
--William Schnieder, Etudes/Inuit/Studies
The rich storytelling tradition of the Inupiaq Eskimos of Alaska is showcased in this unique collection of over eighty stories. Meticulously compiled from six villages in Northwest Alaska between 1966 and 1987, the stories are presented as part of a living tradition, complete with biographies, photos, and introductory remarks of the Native storytellers. This collection includes a new version of the Qayaq cycle, one of the best-known legends from the region, which is told by Nora Norton. Each story provides insight into Inupiaq worldview, human-animal relationships, and the organization of family life.
The stories are accompanied by two in-depth introductory essays by Wanni W. Anderson that provide cultural and narrative background. Anderson's essays demonstrate her focus on the narrative context of storytelling, as well as her sensitivity to details such as Inupiaq exclamations, gender, age, and regional differences, and the concept of story ownership. This volume is a significant contribution to Native literature and Alaska anthropology.
Raven Who Brought Back the Land, by Robert Nasruk Cleveland
The Cannibal Child, by Nora Norton
The Girl Who Had No Wish to Marry, by Willie Goodwin, Sr.
The Fast Runner, by Leslie Burnett
The Raven and the Loon, by Nellie Russell
The Mouse and the Man in the Qayaq, by Minnie Gray
Wanni W. Anderson has a joint faculty appointment in the Department of Anthropology and Ethnic Studies Concentration, Brown University. Her teaching and research interests include ethnicity and identity, folklore, and nationalism. She has conducted extensive research on the Kobuk and Selawik Rivers in Northwest Alaska. She is a co-author of Kuuvangmiut Subsistence: Traditional Eskimo Life in the Latter Twentieth Century (1988).