The traditional pursuit of whales by Eskimo hunters, which continues to be practiced, is an activity in which humans interact directly with nature. To present-day urban dwellers, such association between people, animals, and the environment may seem exotic. But for the Iñupiat and Yupik peoples these relationships are important, vital pursuits.
A co-publication project with the Canadian Circumpolar Institute Press of the University of Alberta, this volume traces regional native whaling practices for the past 2,000 years. Contributions center on three themes: variation in whaling practices, Yupik and Iñupiat whaling traditions over time, and interactions with changing environmental conditions that include major climatic episodes as well as shorter perturbations. Emphasis is placed on the diversity of approaches to subsistence whaling. While the majority of contributions result from NSF-funded research, several other contributors are ethnographers and archaeologists who have carried out whale research in Alaska for many years. Also included are essays presenting Russian research along the western margin of the Bering Strait and the Bering and Chukchi seas.
Allen P. McCartney (1940–2004) was professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas.
Praise and Reviews:
"This is an important book and will have a long-term impact on the field. The papers by cultural anthropologists put whaling in the western Arctic in a social context."—Herbert D. G. Maschner, series co-editor, Anthropology of Pacific North America