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Living Off the Land (Alaska Geographic) Paperback – December 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

More than 100,000 people live in Alaska's remote areas, far from the grocery stores of bigger towns and cities. They take advantage of food the land provides, whether mammal, fish, bird, or plant. Each region of the state has its specific resources: whales and seals in the northern and western sections; moose and berries in the interior; salmon in the southwest; and on around the state.

Dick Emanuel, author of other ALASKA GEOGRAPHIC books, including "Steve McCutcheon's Alaska" and "The Golden Gamble," gives readers an overview of the subsistence lifestyle and includes interviews with people who make the Bush their home. Sidebars written by residents of Petersburg, Kotzebue, Nikolski, Uganik Bay on Kodiak Island, and other small communities offer first-hand accounts of hunting, picking berries, harvesting greens, and the many other activities of getting food from the land.

We'd like to thank Dr. Don Kramer of the University of Alaska Marine Advisory Program for detailed help with the common and scientific names of fish and marine invertebrates; Anore Jones, who graciously let us excerpt from her book "Nauriat Niginaqtuat, Plants That We Eat" (1983); and the Alaska Native Language Center for guidance in the spelling of Native words.

Editor's Note: In this text we have tried to use the most common spelling for Alaska Native words, but readers should note that Alaska Native languages are still evolving. Preferred spellings change, and sometimes even preferred words. In this issue, Yupik refers to the three Yupik languages or to a Siberian Yupik person. Yup'ik refers to Central Yup'ik, the people living on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and in the Bristol Bay region. The plural of Yupik and Yup'ik is Yupiit. Farther north, many Inupiat (singular Inupiaq) people are adopting the term Inuit to refer to themselves. Inupiaq is also the language the Inupiat speak.

From the Back Cover

For thousands of years, living off the land was what everyone did. The land and the sea were grocery store and convenience mart, fast food restaurant and drugstore. Whether whale or walrus, berries or birds, menus varied depending on where and when hunting and gathering took place.

The knowledge of where to find roots and greens and when to hunt bears and beavers was a part of the pattern for successful living that was passed from generation to generation. In Living Off the Land, author Richard P. Emanuel examines how these cultural patterns manifest themselves today as he visits different regions of the state to discover the varied resources available to residents: marine mammals in the northern and western sections; moose and berries in the interior; salmon in the southwest, fresh greens in southeast.

The subsistence lifestyle is explored through interviews with rural residents from Petersburg, Yakutat, Nikolski, Uganik Bay, the Kobuk River, and other small communities. Their first-hand accounts of hunting deer, picking berries, harvesting greens, digging clams, and other activities relate the extensive efforts needed to wrest food from the land. Short essays offer information about mushrooms, nutrients in caribou meat, the risk of botulism, and other knowledge gleaned from experience.

More than 100,000 people in rural Alaska continue to derive much of their sustenance from the land, out of need, out of preference, or sometimes out of a sense of romance or adventure. In Living Off the Land, Emanuel articulates a unifying truth underlying the motivations of people who choose this demanding lifestyle, "...the difficulties are more than offset by the freedom and satisfaction of a life well chosen and well made, and by the beauty of the people and the wild world all around them."


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Product Details

  • Series: Alaska Geographic
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Alaska Geographic Society (December 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566610508
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566610506
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 0.3 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,981,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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