Alutiiq/Sugpiaq Life on the Alaska Peninsula
6 x 9, xiv + 296 pages, black & white photos, maps, bibliography, index
A model of innovative ethnohistory, this account of the Alutiiq people of the Alaska Peninsula spans some 9000 years, from archaeological traces to World War II, concentrating on the 200 years between Russian occupation and the start of the war with Japan. Unlike most historical documentation of the region, it is not a passive record: using collective and individual histories of a people as captured through writing, artifact, oral history, and personal narrative, Partnow weaves a rich story of Alutiiqs not only making their own history, but also expressing a unique perception of the very nature of history. Numerous historical and contemporary maps and photographs, as well as Partnow's historical and cultural background, allow the people to speak for themselves while expanding the ability of readers to interpret the various voices. Together the many elements of this history show a vital culture making its way into the future without letting go of the past.
Making History is a special find for all readers interested in Alaska Native peoples, and in particular for scholars and students exploring important new methods of anthropological and ethnohistorical research and writing.
Patricia Partnow is an anthropologist with thirty years of experience living and working in Alaska. She moved there after graduate school in 1971 and spent three years in Juneau working at the Alaska State Museum designing learning kits for rural schools. When she moved to Anchorage in 1974, she became involved in bilingual education and curriculum development, eventually spending thirteen years with the Anchorage School District's Indian Education Program designing and publishing curriculum and student readers about Alaska Native cultures. She then returned to university to earn her doctorate in anthropology, concentrating on oral tradition and questions of ethnic identity in the Alaska Peninsula. She is the author of a number of articles and chapters in journals and books, and from 1999 through 2002 served as vice president of education, then as senior vice president of programs and education, at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. For additional information about Dr. Partnow's work and publications, please visit her website at http://www.alaska.net/~ppartnow/