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The Akulmiut: Territorial dimensions of a Yup'ik Eskimo society

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dc.contributor.author Andrews, Elizabeth Frances
dc.date.accessioned 2018-08-08T01:46:43Z
dc.date.available 2018-08-08T01:46:43Z
dc.date.issued 1989
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11122/9314
dc.description Thesis (Ph.D.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1989
dc.description.abstract This monograph is an ethnohistoric and ethnographic study of 19th and 20th century land and resource use of the Akulmiut, a Yup'ik-speaking Eskimo society that occupied the inland tundra region between the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers of western Alaska. The study examines the relationship between the patterns of spatial organization and wild resource utilization and resource distribution. Ethnographic studies have shown there is considerable variability in socioterritorial organization, which according to one recent theory, applied to this study, can be accounted for by examining the distribution of critical food resources in terms of density and predictability. The Akulmiut were selected for this study because of their unique situation among Alaskan Eskimos in terms of their subsistence economy and geographic location. With an economy based on fishing, utilizing non-salmon species of the low, marshy moist and wet tundra ecosystems, the adaptation of the Akulmiut is distinct among Alaskan Eskimos. Using data for the Akulmiut, this study tests the hypothesis that a territorial system occurs under conditions of high density and predictability (in time and space) of critical resources. Between groups or societies, the Akulmiut exhibited a territorial system of land use and occupancy as predicted when critical resources are dense and predictable. The study found that the key resource species of whitefish (Coregonus sp.) and northern pike (Esox lucius) exhibited resource distribution parameters characterized as predictable in time and location and were abundant or dense. Spatial organization showed that all primary villages and storage and processing facilities were situated where pike and whitefish could be readily intercepted during their annual migrations. The Akulmiut maintained exclusive use through overt defense, but also by means of cultural principles of land and resource use, ceremonial activities, and naming conventions. Dispersion of the population at other times ensured maintenance of a broader area for use in harvesting another key resource, blackfish (Dallia pectoralis). Dispersion was an efficient means of signaling areas used by the group, but also served to monitor incursions throughout the territory. This type of analysis was found to hold promise for explaining the diversity of socioterritorial organization among Alaskan Eskimos.
dc.subject Cultural anthropology
dc.subject Geography
dc.subject Native American studies
dc.title The Akulmiut: Territorial dimensions of a Yup'ik Eskimo society
dc.type Thesis
dc.type.degree phd
dc.contributor.chair Ellanna, Linda J.


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