Alliance and Conflict: The World System of the Inupiaq Eskimos

Alliance and Conflict: The World System of the Inupiaq Eskimos

Alliance and Conflict: The World System of the Inupiaq Eskimos

Alliance and Conflict: The World System of the Inupiaq Eskimos

Synopsis

Alliance and Conflict combines a richly descriptive study of intersocietal relations in early nineteenth-century Northwest Alaska with a bold theoretical treatise on the structure of the world system as it might have been in ancient times. Ernest S. Burch Jr. illuminates one aspect of the traditional lives of the Iñupiaq Eskimos in unparalleled detail and depth. Basing his account on observations made by early Western explorers, interviews with Native historians, and archeological research, Burch describes the social boundaries and geographic borders formerly existing in Northwest Alaska and the various kinds of transactions that took place across them. These ranged from violence of the most brutal sort, at one extreme, to relations of peace and friendship, at the other. Burch argues that the international system he describes approximated in many respects the type of system existing all over the world before the development of agriculture. Based on that assumption, he presents a series of hypotheses about what the world system may have been like when it consisted entirely of hunter-gatherer societies and about how it became more centralized with the evolution of chiefdoms. Accounts of specific people, places, and events add an immediate, experiential dimension to the work, complementing its theoretical apparatus and sweeping narrative scope. Provocative and comprehensive, Alliance and Conflict is a definitive look at the greater world of Native peoples of Northwest Alaska.

Excerpt

This volume draws on research I have carried out from time to time since the autumn of 1960 and, more particularly, on research undertaken since the fall of 1969. It has involved a total of more than three years of fieldwork and too many weeks in archives and libraries to count. Some of the subjects discussed here have been dealt with in previous publications, all of which should be considered out of date as of the moment of this book’s appearance. Specifically included in the outdated category are the following: Burch 1970a, 1974, 1975b, 1976, 1979, and 1998c and Burch and Correll 1972.

Over the more than four decades I have been involved in this project I have been aided by a great many individuals and organizations. While I can never adequately acknowledge or repay their help, I can at least record it here.

First, I wish to thank the Native historians who taught me most of what I know about the subject matter of this volume. Most are Iñupiaq Eskimos, a few are Koyukon Athapaskans. The following list includes both their English names and their names in their own language. The dates in parentheses are the years in which they are known or thought to have been born: David Iñuqtaq Adams (1907), Effie Taapsuk Atoruk (1902), Peter Aaquuraq Atoruk (1903), Catherine Nodoyedee’onh Attla (1927), Steven Denaa’ek’00gheełtune’ Attla (1924), Walter Mannik Ballott (1900), Emily Qimmikpiauraq Barr (1889), Mark Uluatchiaq Cleveland (1911), Robert Nasruk Cleveland (1884), Isaak Irauraq Coffin (1884), Mary Aullaqsruaq Curtis (1889), Samuel Pulagun Dives (1912), Tommy Paaniikaliaq Douglas (1905), John Ivaak Evok (1910), Daniel Kunaŋnaaluk Foster (1881), Johnnie Tuuyuq Foster (1903), David Umigluk Frankson (1903), Lester Qaluraq Gallahorn (1890?), Frank Kutvak Glover (1886), Amos Apugġiña Hawley (1913), Edna Iragauraq Hunnicutt (1880), Elwood Uyaana Hunnicutt (1904), Charlie Sagġgġaaluraq Jensen (1893), Lucy Ayagiaq Jensen (1897), Eliza Neełteloyeenełno Jones (1938), Mamie Ataŋan Karmun (1914), Della Puyuk Keats (1907), Walter Sigliuna Kowunna (1910), Charlie Qiñugana Lee (1901), Albert Nalikkałuk McClellan (1901), Kenneth Aqukkasuk Mills (1908), Levi Alasuk Mills Sr. (1903), Thomas Uqsrugġaaluk Mitchell (1904), Thomas Aniqsuaq Morris (1904), Simon Panniaq Paneak . . .

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