In a Hungry Country catalogues the extraordinary knowledge of Simon Paneak (1900 - 1975), a Nunamiut hunter who served as a vital source of information on inland Eskimo history and cultural heritage.
Paneak had an intimate understanding of the natural world- the plants and animals vital to existence, as well as of the land itself. Provided with paper and pens by Jack Campbell, Paneak drew a series of pictures documenting Nunamiut life from 1969 until 1971. He also recorded his own earliest memories of life in the Brooks Range before the disastrous dispersal of his people to the coast in the early 1900s. Paneak's narratives include legends of flying whales as well as grim stories of warfare and hunger.
In this well-illustrated volume, the words of Simon Paneak are presented in his own unique English. Campbell, his friend and editor, offers historical context and background that enhance Paneak's words and make them accessible to a wider audience. Robert L. Rausch offers a detailed list of the plants and animals that Paneak knew, listing them in English and Inupiaq and giving their scientific names. Stephen C. Porter supplies an Anaktuvuk genealogy and Grant Spearman contributes an insightful Foreword.
This volume is a treasury of Paneak's words and drawings and will be an invaluable addition to the literature on the culture and history of northern Alaska.
Simon Paneak (1900-1975) was highly regarded by his own people and by Arctic scientists for his intellectual curiosity, skill as an Inupiat craftsman and his comprehensive understanding of the plant and animal life of northern Alaska. His knowledge is recorded in his drawings and narratives for future generations.
John Martin (Jack) Campbell has published widely in anthropology and related fields. His most recent books include Few and Far Between: Moments in the North American Desert (1997), North Alaska Chronicle: Notes From the End of Time (1998) and Magnificent Failure: A Portrait of the Western Homestead Era (2001). Currently, he is working on a personal account of U.S. combat intelligence operations in the Korean War.