978-0-86547-488-8 / 9780865474888

Ancient Land: Sacred Whale : The Inuit Hunt and Its Rituals


Publisher:North Point Pr



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About the book:

For the Tikigaq people of Point Hope, Alaska - the oldest continuously settled Native American site on the continent - the annual cycle culminating in the spring whale hunt shaped every aspect of life for more than fifteen hundred years. The peninsula was once, according to myth, a great whale, part body and part spirit. Sustaining this myth, men and women conducted an elaborate series of rituals, from athletic contests through spirit quests and finally to the hunt itself, which filled the entire autumn and spring. Ancient Land: Sacred Whale, at once a work of anthropology and of poetry, gives an account of their lives and culture, formed in part by a long sequence of poems detailing the ritual year and its stories, narrative by the Tikigaq storytellers who were the author's teachers.

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