Recent Submissions

  • Sea change, know fish: catching the tales of fish and men in Cordova, Alaska

    Springer, Emilie S.; Schneider, William; Criddle, Keith; Farmer, Daryl; Plattet, Patrick; Shoaps, Robin (2019-08)
    Cordova, Alaska is a coastal community in Southcentral Alaska with an intricate history in commercial fishing, primarily for the Copper River sockeye salmon industry, which extends historically to pre-statehood. This dissertation collects personal narratives as a method to express cultural features of community identity and the role salmon has played in shaping identity, livelihood, and lifestyle in Cordova, Alaska. Research material is based on oral history interviews from which I construct written character portraits to depict aspects of resident life in this fishing community and from others who use the community to access summer salmon resources of the Copper River. Portraits were performed and presented in public venues to obtain casual feedback from and review by community members from Cordova and other participants in the Prince William Sound drift fishery. The portraits and public commentary post-performance or from community readers serve as one basis for analysis and lead to my conclusions about life in this community and, on a larger scale, cultural dimensions common within other communities (either geographic or occupational). Public performances offer a communication tool that provides a method to share differences within the industry without encountering explicit controversy over challenging industry transitions. Although the tool of storytelling does not typically receive significant media or policy attention, I find it very effective in understanding and mediating conflict across different groups of people, especially when the main theme of conflict, sustainability and access to the fishery resource, is a mutual cultural feature of interest to diverse participant groups. Additionally, public creative performances offer a venue of communication primarily designed for entertainment and as a result, the audience interaction with storytellers occurs more casually and perhaps more genuinely than it does in academic conferences or policy meeting venues. Personal stories related to the iconic feature of salmon with mutual significance in state and federal fisheries of the North Pacific are a valuable, intimate source of local and traditional knowledge. The opportunity to put meaningful and commonly shared emphasis on the fish as an economic and cultural resource and not on a particular stakeholder group may help lead to improved communications in a field that tends to illicit conflict in consideration of access to harvest rights.
  • Indigenous archaeological approaches to artifact and household analysis at precolonial Yup'ik village Temyiq Tuyuryaq (Old Togiak)

    Skinner, Dougless I.; Potter, Ben; Yamin-Pasternak, Sveta; Reuther, Josh; Barnett, Kristen (2019-08)
    Upper Bristol Bay is home to a multitude of precolonial-and colonial-era villages dotting the coast, islands, and rivers. The bay's dynamic history remains relatively unexplored in archaeological literature. Current data situate people in the region for nearly 6000 years, living in complex, semi-permanent villages, subsisting on large land and sea mammals, fish and mollusks. One such village is Temyiq Tuyuryaq or Old Togiak (GDN-00203). The village is a mounded accumulation of household cycles, sand and organic materials atop an accreting sand spit in the Togiak Bay. Ancestral to Nutaraq Tuyuryaq [New Togiak], the village directly links precolonial and modern Yup'ik traditions in the Upper Bristol Bay. Yup'ik traditions are a combination of transformation, continuity and resilience. Yupiit worldview seeks balance and co-existence with many life forms including the spiritual, natural and human. The aim of this research is to intersect traditional Yup'ik values, knowledges and histories with archeological theory and methodology to explore the material culture and households of Temyiq Tuyuryaq. Research objectives include evaluating a sample of the culturally modified materials, assessing the built environment and exploring the Little Ice Age as causation for increasing village complexities. Research results indicate that there is a direct continuity of knowledge spanning at least 600 years in the bay. Artifact production and function remain primarily continuous with intensifications of some materials circa 500 cal BP. Household analysis reveals the importance of the ena [family house] for processing foods and cooking activities. Additionally, the research indicates that the Little Ice Age may not have had an extensive impact on tool and household function. Rather, the results suggest that the Yup'ik Bow-and-Arrow War had more extensive impacts on the villages about 600 cal BP. This thesis explores the complex relationship of Indigenous knowledge and archaeological data, as well as discussing the dynamic and continuous relationships that modern Yup'ik people of Bristol Bay have to their histories.
  • The taming of the stew: humans, reindeer, caribou and food systems on the southwestern Seward Peninsula, Alaska

    Miller, Odin Tarka Wolf; Plattet, Patrick; Finstad, Greg; Simon, James; Yamin-Pasternak, Sveta (2019-08)
    This thesis addresses the question, what is the role of reindeer within communities of Alaska's southwestern Seward Peninsula, particularly as a food source? Employing a mixed-method approach, I conducted several months' fieldwork in the Seward Peninsula communities of Nome and Teller between 2016 and 2018, using methods that included participant observation, ethnographic interviews and a household survey designed to describe and quantify use of reindeer as food. As two varieties of the same species, Rangifer tarandus, reindeer and caribou are very similar in appearance. When caribou herds migrate nearby, reindeer tend to join them and become feral. Given the important role caribou played in Bering Straits Iñupiaq culture before their disappearance and the subsequent introduction of reindeer during the late 1800s, I contextualize the history of reindeer herding as part of a broader pattern of human-Rangifer relationships. During the past 30 years, reindeer herding has been disrupted by the return of migrating caribou to the region. Results from my fieldwork suggest that herding involves not only keeping reindeer separate from caribou, but also achieving community-level recognition of reindeer herds as domestic, privately owned and non-caribou. This is reflected in reindeer's role as a food source. Among Seward Peninsula Iñupiat, reindeer's gastronomic role is similar to that of caribou and other land mammals. Yet reindeer products can be monetarily exchanged in ways that caribou and other wild foods cannot. A further distinguishing feature of reindeer, as a domestic animal, is that it can be controlled and commodified while alive. As rural Alaskans seek to adapt their food systems to rapid social-ecological change, some have expressed renewed interest in reindeer herding. I conclude that herders must actively negotiate between views of reindeer herding as monetary and marketable, on the one hand, and as a food that embodies Iñupiaq values of generosity and (nonmonetary) sharing, on the other.
  • Faunal analysis of the historic component at Healy Lake Village site, Interior Alaska

    Hilmer, Hilary A.; Potter, Ben; Clark, Jamie; Reuther, Joshua (2019-08)
    The historic period in Interior Alaska was a dynamic time that led to many cultural changes for Native Alaskan communities across the state. Starting in the early 1700s, Russian and Euroamerican explorers began interacting with Native Alaskan groups living on the coast and by the end of the 18th century - early 19th century, Interior Alaskan groups were being directly affected. Due to western influences, Native groups, such as the Upper Tanana Athabascans, began to rely on a cash economy, causing them to settle to year-round villages, trade with the Euroamericans for non-local goods (i.e., flour, guns, buttons, glass, and nails), and work on construction projects in order to provide for their families. All of these changes appeared to cause a division between the traditional way of life and the new Euroamerican way of living. Healy Lake Village site (XBD-00020) is a multi-component site with occupations spanning the terminal Pleistocene into the Holocene. It is located approximately 100 miles southeast of present day Fairbanks on the shores of Healy Lake in the Upper Tanana Athabascan territory. The village was a summer fishing camp until ~A.D. 1910; it became a year-round village soon after the construction of a trading post at Healy Lake. The well-preserved faunal remains excavated from the Upper Cultural level (dating to A.D. 1880 - 1946) at Healy Lake Village site provide a significant opportunity to address fundamental questions relating to subarctic hunter-gatherer subsistence economies. This research employs concepts from human behavioral ecology and world-systems theory to address questions relating zooarchaeological patterns in the data in terms of taphonomy, human procurement, and processing decisions, as well as historic period land use strategies and trade practices. In this thesis, I explore the possibility that the residents at Healy Lake Village site were affected by Euroamerican influences, specifically in regards to their subsistence economies. However, the results suggest that hunting practices were not drastically altered. The residents still relied heavily on local game as their primary source of subsistence with minor inclusions of western goods, such as canned meat and flour.
  • Salmon, cosmology, and identity in Elim, Alaska

    Raymond-Yakoubian, Julie M.; Schweitzer, Peter; Koester, David; Plattet, Patrick; Carothers, Courtney; Lowe, Marie (2019-05)
    This dissertation is the result of sociocultural anthropological research in and about the community of Elim, Alaska. Elim is a small community of approximately 330 (primarily Inupiaq and Yup'ik Eskimo) people in Norton Sound. This research began with a focus on the topics of salmon and identity in the community. The focus on salmon was particularly important because the communities of this region have often traditionally been understood in the social sciences through the lens of relationships with marine mammals. The research involved participant observation in the community, a variety of forms of ethnographic interviewing (free listing, structured, and semi-structured interviews), focus groups, storytelling sessions, and archival research. Over 80 adults in the community participated in the project through interviews. I also completed extensive photo-documentation of the community and various aspects of peoples' relationships with subsistence activities. Much of this work began with inquiries about the importance of salmon to people in Elim, as well as an examination of other things which were important to Elim residents, and how people come to understand themselves. In this I also examined and learned about aspects of Elim residents' relationships with fish and other animals, with the environment, with the spiritual world, and with each other. This process led me to insights not just about identity in Elim - what matters, what is meaningful and valued, how people understand and define themselves and their community, and so on - but it also led to me an understanding of how Elim residents think about the nature of the world in general (i.e., cosmology). My main argument in this dissertation is that my research in and about Elim revealed that identity and cosmology are co-created - and it revealed how this is the case. I discovered that salmon are 'good to think with' in order to see that. This co-creation of identity and cosmology occurs within a particularly visible hybrid cosmological landscape of (primarily) 'traditionally Indigenous' and Christian ideologies. This landscape in lived culture and context is marked by a patterned heteroglossic 'condition' which includes a dominant (and indigenized) Christian discourse. This heteroglossia is constituted, represented, and evidenced by a (markedly) heterogeneous multiplicity of discourse, practice, and belief. This cosmological landscape and its heteroglossic condition are visible, and made, in various respects in co-implicated, co-indexical, interlocking instantiations of human-animal relationships, spirituality, systems of proper behavior, place attachments, and identity processes and formations.
  • Prehistoric toolstone procurement and land use in the Tangle Lakes Region, central Alaska

    Lawler, Brooks A.; Potter, Ben A.; Reuther, Joshua D.; Newberry, Rainer; Hemphill, Brian (2019-05)
    This project explores prehistoric human mobility and landscape use in the Tangle Lakes region, central Alaska through analyses of toolstone procurement and manufacture conditioned by site function. Early Holocene Denali and middle Holocene Northern Archaic traditions are hypothesized to have different tool typologies, subsistence economies, and land use strategies. However, few large, systematic studies of toolstone procurement and use have been conducted. At a methodological level, archaeologists have struggled to quantitatively source non-igneous cryptocrystalline toolstone which often makes up the largest proportion of archaeological lithic assemblages. These problems were addressed by developing rigorous chemical methods for statistically assigning lithic from Tangle Lakes assemblages to (a) two known local toolstone quarries, (b) materials within the Tangle Lakes region, and (c) non-local materials. Lithic technological and geospatial analyses were used to evaluate toolstone procurement, manufacture, and use within sites. Lithic samples from four archaeological components located at different distances from their nearest known quarry sources were used to address the research problems. The archaeological samples were derived from a Denali complex hunting site (Whitmore Ridge Component 1) and three Northern Archaic assemblages: a residential site (XMH-35), a tool production site (Landmark Gap Trail) and a hunting camp (Whitmore Ridge Component 2). Chemical results indicate that cryptocrystalline material in Tangle Lakes assemblages can be statistically assigned to primary sources locations, and visual sourcing of this material is entirely unreliable. Lithic analytical results indicate that despite slight changes in mobility strategies for Denali and Northern Archaic populations, site function is the strongest conditioning factor for material selection and procurement strategies local to the Tangle Lakes region. Thus, this research provides (a) best practice methods for sourcing abundance cryptocrystalline material that has been precluded from most lithic sourcing studies, and (b) the data necessary to incorporate technological organization strategies of Tangle Lakes populations into the broader context of Denali and Northern Archaic behavioral patterns in Alaska.
  • Faunal and lithic analyses from the Matcharak Peninsula site (AMR-00196) northern archaic context: Lake Matcharak, Central Brooks Range, Alaska

    Keeney, Joseph W.; Potter, Ben; Clark, Jamie; Reuther, Josh; Rasic, Jeff (2019-05)
    This thesis focuses on the Matcharak Peninsula site (AMR-00196 or MPS), located on the east side of Lake Matcharak in the upper Noatak River valley of Alaska's central Brooks Range. The MPS contains a substantial and well-preserved collection of faunal remains dating to between 6190±35 and 3780±35 14C years BP, along with side-notched projectile points and microblade technology. Radiometric dating and stone tools attribute the collection to the Northern Archaic tradition, making MPS unique for yielding the largest and most well-preserved collection of faunal remains reported from a Northern Archaic context to date. This project analyzed both faunal and lithic materials to identify a more robust suite of human behaviors, better assess post-depositional processes, and delineate between cultural components. This project first focuses on intrasite activities and site function within a larger system of land use, indicating that MPS functioned repeatedly throughout the middle Holocene as a short-term hunting camp and late-stage hunting tool repair location that was occupied between the late spring and early fall. A small number of individual caribou dominate the faunal assemblage, but a narrow range of other Brooks Range prey species are also present including Dall's sheep and locally available fish and Arctic ground squirrel. This project then develops broader interpretations about the Northern Archaic tradition, investigating technological, mobility, and subsistence strategies by mid-Holocene Brooks Range hunter-gatherers. The inhabitants practiced logistical mobility and organized special task groups when resources were leaner, and came together in aggregated communities to engage in communal hunts when caribou were reliably abundant. Lithic raw material use at MPS reflects a broader Northern Archaic trend of favoring less common obsidian for maintainable tool components, and more commonly available cherts for more heavily engineered and reliable implements such as inset-microblade weapons. Finally, this thesis explores side-notched and inset-microblade projectile weapon armatures in the context of hunting strategies at MPS and other sites, suggesting that bifacially-tipped projectiles were more effective at hunting medium-range targets while inset-microblades were designed for long-range strategies.
  • Reindeer, dogs, and horses among the Tozhu reindeer herder-hunters in the Siberian taiga

    Arakchaa, Tayana; Plattet, Patrick; Koester, David; Schweitzer, Peter; Koskey, Michael (2018-12)
    Anthropological studies have typically represented reindeer as the uniquely key domesticated animal species for Siberian people. For Tozhu reindeer herder-hunters, however, such a perspective ignores the important roles of dogs and horses. These species are equally vital and interdependent partners of daily life in the mountainous areas of Tuva where Tozhu people live. Each animal comes with specific characteristics, challenges and benefits that necessitate a multispecies perspective--the reindeer-dog-horse triad of Tozhu hunting and reindeer herding economies. This research completes the picture of how taiga-dwelling Tozhu and the three important animal species co-exist together. It seeks to portray: 1) how the Tozhu reindeer herder-hunters interrelate the role of these animals in hunting and reindeer herding; 2) how their intense crossbreeding of dogs and horses has in turn influenced human-animal relationships; and 3) how humans and animals cooperate with each other to achieve shared goals. An overview of anthropological studies of human-animal relations is presented in Chapter 1 and has revealed that humans and their animals are bound in mutual relations in which humans and animals have reciprocally influenced each other. In discussions of hunting and herding, the basic social concepts of "trust" and "domination," connected to "captivity" and "freedom," have become prominent social concepts for interpreting human-animal relations. In the case of the animals with which Tozhu herder-hunters interact in the taiga, both principles, "trust" and "domination," can be observed, though the widespread idea that animals give themselves to humans is not shared by the Tozhu. Chapter 2 of this thesis provides necessary background on the history of the Tozhu people. Chapter 3 outlines the social organization of reindeer herding and hunting in the Tozhu district of the Tyva Republic and focuses on the history of reindeer herding and hunting during the Soviet and post-Soviet eras, particularly the transition of Tozhu from small to large scale reindeer herding production. Scholars have described this transition as an abrupt change to meat-oriented production. Close scrutiny of the history of Tozhu reindeer herding and hunting reveals that the particularities of the fur trade dictated a gradual shift from small-scale to large-scale reindeer herding in order to provide reindeer hunters and villagers with reindeer to utilize as a means of transportation. Collective farms reconstructed reindeer herding and hunting by introducing new forms and techniques in their economies. Chapter 4 describes the role of reindeer and the nature of human-reindeer relationships among the Tozhu. Chapter 5 focuses on the role of the indigenous breeds of hunting dog, particularly their role in hunting and on crossbreeding during the Soviet era. The chapter also discusses how dog breed, gender, experience, age, and specialization affects hunting. It also examines the stealing and eating of dogs in the Tozhu district. Chapter 6 describes the role of horses in Tyvan ontology and in Tozhu economies. It also discusses crossbreeding during the Soviet and post-Soviet era and how the Tozhu are interfacing with crossbreeds today. Analysis of changes in hunting and reindeer herding organization and the history of dog and horse crossbreeding sheds light on the balancing of human relationships with their animals and animal relationships with their humans. Hunting with dogs, for example, has actually provided a stimulus to domesticate reindeer for riding. The practice of riding allows humans to keep up with the dogs during the search for prey in winter. Tozhu practice also includes maintaining a balance between animal captivity and freedom in order to manage multiple animals successfully. All three species are essential for herder-hunters, and one species cannot be said to be more or less important than the others.
  • Taphonomic Analysis Of Fish Remains From The Mink Island Site (Xmk-030): Implications For Zooarchaeological And Stable Isotopic Research

    Mckinney, Holly J.; Potter, Ben; Hanson, Diane; Hoover, Kara; Irish, Joel; Kruse, Gordon (2013)
    This dissertation is focused on shedding the taphonomic overprint at the Mink Island site (XMK-030) to assess temporal variability of the fish bone assemblage and to establish sample selection criteria for stable isotope (delta15N, delta13C) analysis. These retrospective data may be used to identify the causes and consequences of long-term variability in local fish assemblages when combined with modern fisheries and paleo-oceanographic data. To use these data, it is essential to account for the effects of biostratinomic and diagenic agents. Intertaxa and inter-elemental differences in bone density, shape, size, protein, and lipid content result in differing preservation and contamination potential. Without mitigating for the effects of these biostratinomic and diagenic agents, temporal changes in abundance may be skewed in favor of skeletal elements that best survive destruction. Moreover, stable isotope values may reflect differences in preservation and contamination rather than variability in ecosystem structure and function. The results of several experiments conducted to assess preservation and contamination levels of Mink Island fish bones revealed that: 1) Preservation and contamination potential are linked with completeness percentages and burial duration, but not with bone volume density; 2) Pacific cod dentaries that are intact, unburned, and free of visible contaminants are best suited for stable isotope analysis; 3) The modified Bell pretreatment method is validated for archaeological fish bones; and 4) Because color-affecting contaminants cannot be removed without heat, color-based methods are unsuitable for assessing the cooking/burning stage of archaeological fish bones. Interactions among humans and fishes at Mink Island were assessed using a four-stage resource depression and intensification model. The Mink Island occupants shifted their focus from small flatfishes during Stage I (7500-4500 cal. BP), to Pacific cod and sculpins during Stages II (4500-2800 cal. BP) and III (2800-900 cal. BP), to a mixture of taxa (sculpins, cods, herring, and salmon) during Stage IV (900-400 cal. BP). A decrease in Pacific cod fork lengths indicates that resource depression occurred during Stage II. Taxonomic proportion, evenness, salmon index, and skeletal element representation data demonstrate that salmon intensification did not occur during any stage at Mink Island.
  • Losing Ground: An Ethnography Of Vulnerability And Climate Change In Shishmaref, Alaska

    Marino, Elizabeth K.; Schweitzer, Peter (2012)
    This dissertation presents an ethnography of vulnerability in Shishmaref, Alaska. The village of Shishmaref, population 563, faces imminent threat from increasing erosion and flooding events -- linked to climatic changes and ecological shift -- making the relocation of residents off of the island necessary in the foreseeable future. In spite of ongoing conversations with government agencies since 1974, an organized relocation has yet to occur in Shishmaref. While ecological shift and anthropogenic climate change are no doubt occurring in and around the island, the literature on vulnerability and disaster predicts that social systems contribute at least as much as ecological circumstances to disaster scenarios. This research tests this theory and asks the question: what exactly is causing vulnerability in Shishmaref, Alaska? The resulting dissertation is an exploration of the ecological, historical, social and cultural influences that contribute to vulnerability and risk in Shishmaref. Unlike common representations of climate change and disaster that present the natural environment as a sole driver of risk, this research finds complex systems of decision-making, ideologies of development, and cultural assumptions about social life contribute to why Shishmaref residents are exposed to erosion and flooding and why government intervention and planning remains difficult.
  • Site Formation Processes And Environmental Reconstruction At The Mink Island Archaeological Site (Xmk-030), Katmai National Park And Preserve, Alaska

    Laybolt, Alison Dawn; Murray, Maribeth (2012)
    This research was initiated to document climate and weather, as reflected in geoarchaeological data, and identify, if possible, any related changes in human behaviors at the Mink Island Site (XMK-030) on the Shelikof Strait, in Katmai National Park, Alaska. The goal was to identify local environmental changes through the analysis of sediment micromorphology, grain-size, and scanning electron microscopic (SEM) observation of sediment grain surface textures, and use the data to determine if local environmental changes were related to periods of human occupation, or associated with local or regional hiatuses. Research indicated that micromorphology, grain-size and SEM analyses are not the most appropriate analytical techniques to develop proxy climate data. This is not to say they are not applicable to archaeological analyses in general, or even in the GOA. They are however, ineffectual means by which to obtain data regarding specific environmental events, and cannot therefore, be used to extrapolate environmental drivers of human behavior. However, both micromorphology and grain size analysis are appropriate techniques to address the proposed research questions and both indicate that the two primary non-cultural formation processes on the site were aeolian and colluvial deposition. Analyses suggested that there were not widely divergent depositional regimes. Sediments within the site were likely deposited by aeolian and/or colluvial movement with secondary deposition during freezing temperatures likely during periods of winter abandonment. During occupation periods, sediments were likely derived from these same processes as well as material brought into the site by human occupants. The differences between abandonment and occupation levels are very distinct; humans clearly affected the means by which material accumulated in site deposits. Analysis suggests winter abandonment but beyond that, it is difficult to extrapolate additional seasonality data. Methods used for analysis of the Mink Island sediments were unable to provide specific information regarding environmental events at the site or within the broader GOA. However, analyses did provide an additional tool to identify the season of site abandonment. The data presented here also indicated the depositional processes that acted on the site, and allowed the identification of post-depositional processes that altered sediments after human abandonment.
  • Come On Ugzruk, Let Me Win: Experience, Relationality, And Knowing In Kigiqtaamiut Hunting And Ethnography

    Wisniewski, Josh; Schweitzer, Peter (2010)
    This ethnography of marine mammal hunting explores linkages between personal experiences and shared understandings of ecological phenomena among a group of Kigiqtaamiut hunters in Shishmaref, Alaska. Specifically it examines the relationships between Kigiqtaamiut hunters' experiences in the world and means by which the experienced world is brought into being through hunters' ways knowing. This work is informed by three spring hunting seasons spent as a member of a familial marine mammal hunting crew and over 20 months of fieldwork. It addresses hunters' ways of learning, knowing and directly experiencing the reality of the phenomenal world. Exploring a multiplicity of modes and facets of experience connected to the relationships between hunters' processual way of knowing bearded seals (Eringathus barbatus) through an experiential ethnographic investigation, I empirically examine the practices of hunting and the ethnography of hunting as linked, reflexive, and ultimately inseparable processes of coming to know. Considering the plausibility that a more rigorous presentation of a way of knowing can be realized through highlighting the reflexive and experiential interactions that shape these two concurrent phenomenological inquiries, this work suggests an "ethnography of knowing" to engage these multiple-linked processes of knowledge construction. It is suggested that separating hunters' ways of being and knowing misconstrues the depth and complexity of local knowledge as actualized in pragmatic decision-making processes in context of hunting. By examining Kigiqtaamiut/bearded seal relations, the set of hunting practices that most significantly shape the hunting mode of being in Shishmaref are explored. Collapsed into this ethnographic and phenomenological analysis of human/bearded seal ecology are the connections between hunters' ways of knowing, local pedagogy, the structure and usage of hunting narratives and topical lexicon to convey information and the significance of place and local histories. Analysis of these intersecting and mutually informative themes highlights how hunters' means of learning and knowing as a continuous process of experience both shape and are shaped by socioculturally mediated experiences with natural phenomena. This work speaks to dimensions of hunters' ways of knowing both manifest in and shaping lived experiences. In doing so, this work furthers regional ethnography, the anthropology of knowledge studies, human environmental relations and understandings of the human condition of being-in-the-world.
  • Skin Drums, Squeeze Boxes, Fiddles And Phonographs: Musical Interaction In The Western Arctic, Late 18Th Through Early 20Th Centuries

    Krejci, Paul R.; Koester, David; Lee, Molly; Hurley-Glowa, Susan; Schweitzer, Peter (2010)
    This dissertation explores the nature of early globalization in the Western Arctic with a focus on musical interaction between indigenous and foreign populations during the late 18th through the 20 th centuries. The region experienced an unprecedented amount of cultural contact represented by various cultural groups including Native Alaskan, Canadian, Chukotkan, European American, African American, Latin American, Asian American, Oceanic peoples and others. Numbering in the thousands, natives and non-natives developed continuous and long-term relations working as explorers, whalers, traders, missionaries, miners, hunters, trappers, seamstresses, educators, law enforcement officials, and scientists. The Western Arctic's ethnically diverse population, relatively harsh physical surroundings, and absence of a common language allowed musical activity to serve as an important means of communication and increase awareness of the world. Music and dance helped to promote social bonding, trade, and religion. They also expressed cultural identity and contributed to ethnic differentiation. An examination of this musical interchange forms the first part of this study. Local indigenous communities during the late 18th, 19 th, and early 20th centuries interacted most extensively with the influx of explorers, commercial whalers, traders, and missionaries. Throughout the year but especially during the long winter season, these groups often participated in formal, informal, and impromptu gatherings featuring various types of music such as indigenous drum dance and song, folk, popular, church, and classical. Musical instruments including frame drums, fiddles, accordions, harmonicas, organs, pianos, guitars and devices such as phonographs, organettes, and music boxes played an essential role in musical exchange. Just as significantly, these objects also ranked as some of the region's more popular trade commodities. Perceptions of northern indigenous peoples through music and dance constitute a second part of this study. Outside fascination with the Arctic and its inhabitants as reflected in the many examples of late 19th and early 20 th century sheet music, piano rolls, and recordings suggest that cross-cultural interests, though often superficial and caricatured, were also reciprocal. Early musical representation of Arctic culture via southern compositions and performances shares crucial links to the expansion of globalization in North America and beyond.
  • Dew Line Passage: Tracing The Legacies Of Arctic Militarization

    Fritz, Stacey A.; Koester, David; Schweitzer, Peter; Klein, David; Shannon, Kerrie Ann (2010)
    Grounded within the context of modern American militarization, this dissertation is a descriptive, ethnohistorical, and ethnographic study focusing on the impacts and legacies of the development, implementation, and decommissioning of the western sector of the Distant Early Warning radar line (DEW Line) in northern Alaska and Canada's western Arctic. Understanding the localized social and environmental impacts of global militarization is a critical task for anthropology and one that coincides in the North with the need to gather histories from Inuit perspectives. This study's purposes are to elucidate how the global phenomenon of modern militarization penetrates and brings about change in small communities and to determine whether local attitudes towards security, the environment, industrialization, and political participation can be traced to the policies of the Canadian and American governments during the construction, operation, and clean up of the line. Ethnohistorical research and pilot studies in communities adjacent to radar sites provided background for the project. Personal narratives of arctic residents and employees, combined with documentation of the radar stations and remnants, were collected during a multi-season voyage along the western sector of the DEW line in the Canada's western Arctic and Alaska.
  • Landscape Structure And Terrain-Based Hunting Range Models: Exploring Late Prehistoric Land Use In The Nutzotin Mountains, Southcentral Alaska

    Patterson, Jody J.; Murray, Maribeth; Gerlach, S. Craig; Irish, Joel; Mann, Dan (2010)
    Striving for better delineation of site function, land use, and settlement patterns, the data and analyses presented in this dissertation aim to explore more robust and objective avenues of inquiry for addressing the variability and distribution of surface lithic scatters using terrain-based hunting range models. Using large mammal distributions, Athabascan hunting ranges, and topography, landscape metrics, and an exploratory data analysis (EDA) framework, landscape structure is quantified and compared across much of the Alaskan Interior to identify reoccurring patterns related to hunting land use and the range characteristics of caribou, moose, and sheep. Key components of the landscape structure are contrasted with topographic matrices associated with protohistoric and late prehistoric sites via discriminant function classification models. Projectile points, scrapers and bifaces from surface scatters in the Nutzotin Mountains are examined in relationship to these models and their constituent elements. The results show that the association of certain chipped-stone tools and landscape structure are highly autocorrelated. This suggests that landscape structure models can be useful in the generation of constructive hypotheses to test ideas concerning inter-assemblage variability, site function and varied forms of land use.
  • Maybe An Answer Is In There: Life Story In Dialogue

    Carroll, Jennifer L. L.; Schneider, Bill (2010)
    This dissertation explores the ways in which Gwich'in women's lives have changed over the past century through the life story and historical and cultural reflections of Vera Englishoe, a Neets'qii Gwich'in woman in her late 50s from Venetie and Fort Yukon. Vera's story illustrates one woman's pathway through changing times and provides an example of resilience in the face of family and community turmoil. This work also shows how Vera uses stories to sustain herself and others amid dialogues that challenge Gwich'in identity and how the Gwich'in approach to knowledge, understanding, and stories emphasize personal experience and accountability, promotes independent thinking on the part of the listener and acknowledges ambiguity and multiplicity in meaning. Through Vera's dialogue we see how stories of personal experience are offered to help others understand their own experiences and how putting stories into writing can be an extension of this tradition. Vera hopes her stories will remind people of the strength of Gwich'in culture and community and that they help others with similar experiences: that "maybe an answer is in there." In this work I employ a dialogic approach to reading Vera's stories because this comes closest to Vera's and Gwich'in ideas about how knowledge and understanding is gained and passed on through stories. Each person's experiences lead them to engage in the dialogue differently and thus find their own understanding. Offering a story acknowledges the ambiguity of understanding and the fluidity of storytelling and story listening. Through exploring multiple discourses and providing a "reading" instead of an interpretation of Vera's narrative I hope that "maybe something is in there" that will help others understand Vera's words. Vera's approach to her life story illustrates a way of using life stories not simply to record culture and history, but to engage others in a broader attempt to create and reinforce shared meaning and identity. This requires a way of looking at the collaborative process in the production of life histories that emphasizes continuing dialogues and negotiated meanings between all parties.
  • Seasons Out Of Balance: Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerability, And Sustainable Adaptation In Interior Alaska

    Mcneeley, Shannon Michele (2009)
    Koyukon Elders of Alaska's Interior observe that "cold weather is growing old" and recent warming is contributing to a world out of balance. Alaska is among the most rapidly warming places globally, with the Interior experiencing the most pronounced warming statewide, and with significant regional-scale ecosystem services disruptions affecting subsistence hunting and harvest success. Vulnerability of individuals, households, and communities to climate change is exacerbated by rising energy costs and a regulatory system that constrains the adaptive flexibility needed to cope with impacts on livelihoods. Socioeconomic and cultural change notwithstanding, the well-being of rural native communities is still dependant on access and ability to harvest wild foods, with moose the example explored in this study. Over the last decade communities in the Koyukuk-Middle Yukon (KMY) region report an inability to satisfy their needs for harvesting moose before the hunting season closes, citing warmer falls, changing water levels, and the regulatory framework as primary causes. A combination of factors, including the complicated dual state/federal management system for wildlife and subsistence, creates uncertainties about the sustainability of moose populations and subsistence livelihoods in the region. By combining indigenous observations and understanding of climate and western social-natural sciences, this study examines the complex, multi-scaled interaction of climate change and subsistence livelihoods, with the goal of understanding vulnerability and adaptive capacity in the KMY region. This research demonstrates that a recent trend during early fall results in seasonality shifts, where September is getting warmer and wetter and, most recently, temperatures during 2005-2007 were outside the normal, expected range of variability. The regulatory system lacks the flexibility needed to provide local hunters with sufficient opportunity to harvest moose. This complex interplay of climate, agency intervention, and rural community needs, increases vulnerability because of a "closing window" during the critical fall harvest. Sustainable adaptation requires collective, strategic action such as "in-season" management. It is argued that this approach will more effectively respond to climate variability, and provide the necessary venue wherein wildlife management includes climate science with the human dimensions of subsistence. It is further argued that new research initiatives will build social and institutional capital between the local hunters and agency managers.
  • Nuniwarmiut Land Use, Settlement History And Socio-Territorial Organization, 1880--1960

    Pratt, Kenneth L. (2009)
    Prior efforts to identify traditional socio-territorial groups among the Central Yup'ik Eskimos of southwestern Alaska have been primarily theoretical in nature, examined the subject from very restricted temporal perspectives, and were heavily reliant on a small body of written historical accounts---none of which were informed by contacts with indigenous populations across the entire region. The collective results are inconsistent and largely unverifiable; hence many basic details about Yup'ik socio-territorial organization remain obscure. This study deviates from its predecessors in geographical focus, temporal scope and methodology. The geographical focus is on the Nuniwarmiut (or Nunivak Eskimos), both the most isolated and best documented of all Central Yup'ik populations. Its temporal scope covers a period of 80 years, the earliest point of which marks the practical limits of reliability of the available ethnographic data. Finally, the study's methodology is ethnohistorical; it employs a rich array of complementary historical, ethnographic and archeological data to produce a far more detailed account of socio-territorial organization than has been compiled for any other population in the region. The findings indicate socio-territorial organization among the Nuniwarmiut took the form of local groups organized around winter villages. The functional stability of each group was susceptible to various natural and cultural factors; in fact, such groups ranged in number from as many as 30 to as few as 7 over the course of the study period. The Nuniwarmiut society was a level of identity above the local group; it was comprised of the totality of local groups that existed at any point in time, but was not itself a socio-territorial unit. Overall, the study demonstrates that socio-territorial organization among the Nuniwarmiut was substantially more complex and dynamic than previously recognized.
  • Bone As A Biomarker Of Mercury Exposure In Prehistoric Arctic Human Populations: Initial Method Validation Using Animal Models

    Halffman, Carrin M. (2009)
    Marine mammals are dietary staples among many indigenous peoples of the Arctic, but these foods sometimes contain high levels of mercury, a toxic heavy metal that can cause nerve and brain damage. Because mercury can be released into the environment by both industrial and natural processes, prehistoric marine mammal consumers may have been exposed to this toxicant, but little is known about preindustrial mercury levels. This research examined the potential for using the mercury concentration of archaeological bone as a biomarker of mercury exposure. Two requirements of valid biomarkers of exposure were explored: (1) measurement accuracy (trueness and precision) and (2) correspondence with the extent of exposure. Measurement accuracy was evaluated using repeated determinations of mercury concentration in a sample of modern seal bones. Correspondence with exposure was examined by comparing bone mercury concentration to controlled exposure level in laboratory rats, and to the stable nitrogen isotope ratio (delta15N) (a proxy measure of exposure) in prehistoric ringed seals from Thule-period archaeological sites in Alaska. Results show that mercury measurements have acceptable accuracy and that bone mercury is strongly related to exposure. These promising results suggest that, with further validation on human subjects, bone mercury may provide a reliable archive of mercury exposure in preindustrial archaeological populations.
  • Sugpiaq Russian Orthodoxy---Conceptual Analogy In Religious Syncretism In Nanwalek Alaska

    Csoba Dehass, Medea (2009)
    Religious conversion is often highly unstable, can be nominal in nature, and may not have lasting effects on converted people and their culture. For the Sugpiaq of Nanwalek, however, Russian Orthodoxy has become "native" (and Native) in the sense that it has been incorporated into everyday Sugpiaq reality, and referred to as such by all in the community. Therefore, examining the unique history and practice of Orthodoxy in Nanwalek provides insight into the process of integration of a foreign religious idea into a new cultural environment. The focus of this dissertation is on contemporary Sugpiaq Russian Orthodoxy, as it is formulated in culture-specific analogies and conceptualized through the process of religious synthesis. In Sugpiaq Russian Orthodoxy, Russian traditions and Russian Orthodoxy are mediated through a Sugpiaq cultural logic to create and re-create a culturally specific religious identity. To better understand the process of internalization, this dissertation explores the interplay between Orthodox and traditional Sugpiaq understandings of power, hierarchy, social status, and authority. By doing so, it offers insight into how people interpret certain aspects of their religion according to their own ontological reality, in order to integrate foreign religious ideas into the local cultural context. Based on Sugpiaq Russian Orthodoxy, I propose a new term, conceptual analogy, which can be used to explore people's thought processes in assigning cultural significance to religious meaning, as well as through cultural dynamics that govern the selection and maintenance of religious affiliations. Although conceptual analogy is not restricted to one particular religious or cultural tradition the analogy that is conceptualized is always culture-specific. Therefore, conceptual analogies can be found in all situations where an ongoing conversation develops through syncretism, which is an inherent aspect of religion, as cultural internalization and re-conceptualization. Conceptualizing Russian Orthodoxy through Sugpiaq understandings of reality and fully integrating it into their community made it possible for people in Nanwalek to maintain their Orthodox faith. Thus, Russian Orthodoxy is no longer a foreign religious concept in Nanwalek, but rather a significant component of Sugpiaq identity.

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