Social Life in Northwest Alaska

The Structure of Iñupiaq Eskimo Nations

By Burch Jr, Ernest S.

7 x 10, 496 pages, maps, b & w illustrations, bibliography, index

Format: Paper

Price: $29.95

Published: 2006

This landmark volume will stand for decades as one of the most comprehensive studies of a hunter-gatherer population ever written. In this third and final volume in a series on the early contact period Iñupiaq Eskimos of northwestern Alaska, Burch examines every topic of significance to hunter-gatherer research, ranging from discussions of social relationships and settlement structure to nineteenth-century material culture.

Selected as an outstanding book of 2007 for the American Association of School Librarians.

Ernest S. Burch, Jr., is a historical ethnographer specializing in the study of northern peoples, especially those of northwestern Alaska and the central Canadian Subarctic. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and has published extensively on the Iñupiat, the Caribou Inuit, kinship, and hunter-gatherer social organization. His recent books include The Iñupiaq Eskimo Nations of Northwest Alaska (University of Alaska Press 1998) and Alliance and Conflict: The World System of the Iñupiaq Eskimos (2005). He is currently a research associate of the Arctic Studies Center, Smithsonian Institution.


"This is another tour de force in Burch's life-long effort to recreate the social systems and lifestyles of Native Alaskans of the early nineteenth century. It places the Iñupiaq people on the map as one of the best documented indigenous peoples of the North. This monumental volume will become the premier source on "the old days" for Native Alaskans and for anyone interested in Iñupiaq lifeways and culture for decades to come."
Igor Krupnik (Arctic Studies Center, Smithsonian Institution)

"Burch's command of nineteenth-century Iñupiaq history is unparalleled. His comprehensive masterpiece answers questions lesser scholars have never thought to ask."
Ann Fienup-Riordan (author of Eskimo Essays and The Living Tradition of Yup'ik Masks)

"Burch has produced a work of historical ethnography unmatched in its clarity and attention to detail. Essential reading for anyone interested in Eskimos, hunting peoples, or the history of Alaska."
Daniel Odess (Curator of Archaeology, University of Alaska Museum)