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The Native People of Alaska: Traditional Living in a Northern Land [Paperback]

Steve J. Langdon


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Book Description

January 2002
This book explains how Alaska's many different Native people have survived for more than 500 generations in one of the world's most challenging environments, long before the arrival of European technology.

Topics include traditional housing, dress, food, social systems, ceremonies, beliefs, tools and more. Supplemented with seven maps, 26 illustrations, and 55 historic photos. 6 x 9 inches; 128 pages. Completely revised in 2002.


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Review

Desirable, thorough and attractive... -- Ann Chandonet, Anchorage Times

Every Alaskan should read this book. ... for students, Alaskans, and the old timer who wants to know more... -- William Demmert, former Alaska Commissioner of Education

From the Publisher

This book was originally produced as in introductory guide for first-time visitors to Alaska. It is the publisher's most popular book and has remained in print continuously for twelve years due to its strong sales. It now has been added as a required textbook at most, if not all, colleges, universities and junior colleges in Alaska. Also has been sold to other schools such as Penn State, University of Victoria, and University of California for various courses in American Indian studies, social studies etc. Also carried at most museums in the state. This is a unique book in that it covers the same topics for all six major Native groups in the state, allowing easy comparisons between groups and avoiding the need to purchase many other books to obtain information about each group separately.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any history library. Nov. 20 2006
By Michael Valdivielso - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Native People of Alaska by Steve J. Langdon is only 128 pages yet has a lot of detail for those of us who wish to get as much knowledge about Native life and history before the Europeans came.

The first chapter is an introduction followed by six chapters that each deal with a region of Alaska. These six chapters break down the information of that area into history, population, technologies, diet, beliefs, trade, warfare, ceremonies, first contact with Europeans and how that effected their way of life.

The last chapter is an overview of Alaskan history from first contact with the Russians to the first years of the 21st Century. There is also a list of museums and cultural centers in the back of the book that you can visit when in Alaska.

I love this book which I got from the Anchorage Museum of History and Art and think anybody who wants to understand or enjoy Alaska must buy it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is my heritage. Nov. 16 2007
By Sarah M. Storm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Great book, good information, for the time it was published in.

The photograph of the woman and child is actually my great-great grandmother Avitniya, and her child is my great-grandmother Hilda.

It was amazing to find this picture on a book cover.
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and succinct overview of the different native groups of Alaska Sept. 19 2012
By Doktor Faustus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"The Native People of Alaska" by Steve Langdon is an interesting - although somewhat repetitive - look at the various native groups of Alaska. The book contains a short chapter for each large cultural-linguistic group (Aleuts, Northern Eskimos, Southern Eskimos, Athabascans, and Tlingit) and concludes with a chapter on the history of these people since their contact with Europeans in the late 1700s. Within each chapter he discusses the group's population, diet, technology, clothing, house types, social organization, belief system and a few other topics. The book is essentially an anthropological description in shortened form. If you're interested in learning about the native inhabitants of Alaska, this book does a good job of explaining things at a broad level.
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice overview July 22 2008
By Linda Austin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I picked this book up at an Alaskan cruise port shop in Icy Straits to learn about the native peoples of the area and was not disappointed. Langdon jam packs this little book with facts and tidbits about each of the various groups, interspersing black and white photos and drawings among archaeological history, geography, all manner of cultural practices and interesting odds and ends, concluding with the effects of contact with Europeans and/or British and American traders. A final chapter on Historic Changes goes into more detail concerning the history of the state of Alaska and changes wrought in native cultures in order for the people to survive in the white man's world. While sad, there is much hope as we see how Alaska Natives continue to teach their children and the world about their rich heritage and culture and have learned to stand together to demand their right to just and equitable treatment.

This is a well-organized, enlightening book, although I suggest having a good general map of Alaska on hand to identify the geographical boundaries detailed. An Appendix of museums and cultural centers is a useful addition.
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars very hard to read March 10 2007
By mzeina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
english is my fourth language, but i do read books in english all the time, because of endless variety and availability . this book is about very interesting stuff but written in least enjoyable english i ever happened to read. it's so dry, no life in it. it's almost impossible to chew thru the pages. i'm not sure i can finish it. probably will throw it away and will find another one about same suff, because i'm really into native alaskans history.
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