Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Sharing Our Knowledge: The Tlingit and Their Coastal Neighbours

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Sharing Our Knowledge: The Tlingit and Their Coastal Neighbours

Article excerpt

Sergei Kan (ed.) with Steve Henrikson, Sharing Our Knowledge: The Tlingit and Their Coastal Neighbours (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015), 544 pp. Cased. $65. ISBN 978-0-8032-4056-8.

The aim of this collection, arising from a conference held in Sitka, Alaska, in 2007, is 'to reaffirm the customs and traditions of the Alaska Tlingit and the Kaigani Haida clans' (p. 1). In five sections, the book begins with chapters on Tlingit Elders, and continues through themes which include history, subsistence and natural resources, material culture and repatriation of Tlingit ceremonial objects. Contributors include Aboriginal authors, social anthropologists, historians and museum specialists. Sergei Kan's introduction emphasises the collaborative and multidisciplinary nature of the book's production and its value for academics and Aboriginal scholars. The first section includes papers about significant Tlingit Elders, an account of service in the US Navy during the Second World War and poetry (in English) written by a Tlingit author. Part II, on native history discusses tradition, clarifying the hereditary and matrilineal features of social organisation with particular reference to Tlingit elites. The historical scope of some chapters, two centuries or more, includes details of Russian influence and trading relationships during the fur trade.

Although the Tlingit and Kaigani Haida occupy territory within the United States there is relevance to the understanding of First Nations in Canada. Gitxaala, Haida, Nisga'a and Tsimshian peoples are amongst those mentioned. Elena Piterskaya discusses interactions between the Tlingit and other Northwestern Coast groups, recording trade, conflicts, and slavery. Piterskaya notes that 'warfare was an integral part of the social and political life of the Tlingits' (p. …

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