Native American Studies

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By William E. Simeone

Whoever heard of a celebration at which the hosts lavishly provide away provides, refusing to simply accept any presents in go back, holding little for themselves? this can be the customized of the Northern Athapaskan potlatch, a convention that has lengthy involved american citizens. In Rifles, Blankets, and Beads, William E. Simeone explores the potlatch and its position in balancing pageant and cooperation one of the Tanacross humans, a Northern Athapaskan culture.According to Simeone, the potlatch culture is helping the Tanacross humans uphold criteria of applicable habit via curtailing competitiveness and stressing the beliefs of cooperation. Simeone additionally examines Northern Athapaskan management practices, the advent of alternate items into Athapaskan tradition, and the complexities of cultural identification for the Tanacross.

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Rifles, Blankets, and Beads: Identity, History, and the Northern Athapaskan Potlatch

Whoever heard of a celebration at which the hosts lavishly supply away provides, refusing to simply accept any presents in go back, conserving little for themselves? this is often the customized of the Northern Athapaskan potlatch, a convention that has lengthy interested americans. In Rifles, Blankets, and Beads, William E. Simeone explores the potlatch and its function in balancing pageant and cooperation one of the Tanacross humans, a Northern Athapaskan tradition.

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Additional resources for Rifles, Blankets, and Beads: Identity, History, and the Northern Athapaskan Potlatch

Example text

4 Although William Healy Dall (1870: 108) indicates that Tanana River Natives visited Fort Yukon, there is no evidence these were Tanacross or Upper Tanana people. Certainly by the 1870s, people from the Upper Tanana Region made annual trips to Nuklukayet station or Fort Adams, established in 1868 by the Pioneer Company (McKennan 1981: 56667; Mercier 1986). The Pioneer Company moved into Alaska after the territory was purchased by the United States in 1867. At this point the development of interior Alaska trade increased sharply as a number of competing firms stretched up the Yukon, establishing posts along the river as far as the mouth of the Klondike River in western Yukon Territory.

Few salmon ascend the Tanana past the mouth of the Goodpaster, so these fish are unavailable to residents of the Upper Tanana Region. Salmon are plentiful in the Copper River, and residents of the region travel south to get chinook or king salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), coho or silver salmon (O. kisutch), and sockeye or red salmon (O. nerka)(Marcotte 1991). Page 6 Tanacross Tanacross draws its name from a ford in the river called Tanana Crossing. The crossing was used by travelers on the Eagle trail, which connected Valdez with Eagle on the Yukon River.

Gifts are distributed, for example, on the occasion of a young person's first successful hunt, to celebrate the return of a person after a long absence or recovery from an acute illness, or to honor someone, such as a spouse. People also distribute gifts as restitution for an injury or insult and even for an offense as grievous as murder. Usually the most compelling reason for holding a potlatch is the death of an individual. The purpose of this book is to describe and interpret the meaning of the contemporary Athapaskan potlatch within a historical context.

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