416 pages, 7 3/10 x 10 2/5
70 illus., 30 in color, 2 maps
At every gathering, at least one elder repeated the Yup'ik adage, "The world is changing following its people." The Yup'ik see environmental change as directly related not just to human actions, such as overfishing or burning fossil fuels, but also to human interactions. The elders encourage young people to learn traditional rules and proper behavior - to act with compassion and restraint - in order to reverse negative impacts on their world. They speak not only to educate young people on the practical skills they need to survive but also on the knowing and responsive nature of the world in which they live.
Ellavut builds on a decade of careful, collaborative ethnographic research with elders on the west coast of Alaska. It sets a high bar for studies of local environmental knowledge by positioning local knowledge in the context provided by the narrators and letting local people drive the narrative.
Few works on Native knowledge drill down this deep or are done with this breadth and depth of collaboration. Ellavut will be a touchstone and standard of excellence for how to carry out research in aboriginal communities. It is a remarkable testament to a remarkable group of elders and their knowledge and ways of being in the world.
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