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Oil Age Eskimos

by Joseph G. Jorgensen

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Book Description
In a book made especially timely by the disastrous Exxon Valdez oil spill in March 1989, Joseph Jorgensen analyzes the impact of Alaskan oil extraction on Eskimo society. The author investigated three communities representing three environments: Gambell (St. Lawrence Island, Bering Sea), Wainwright (North Slope, Chukchi Sea), and Unalakleet (Norton Sound). The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, which facilitated oil operations, dramatically altered the economic, social, and political organization of these villages and others like them. Although they have experienced little direct economic benefit from the oil economy, they have assumed many environmental risks posed by the industry. Jorgensen provides a detailed reminder that the Native villagers still depend on the harvest of naturally-occurring resources of the land and sea--birds, eggs, fish, plants, land mammals and sea mammals. Oil Age Eskimos should be read by all those interested in Native American societies and the policies that affect those societies.

From the Inside Flap
"For anyone interested in the 'modernization' of aboriginal peoples anywhere, this work is an essential source."--W. H. Oswalt, University of California, Los Angeles

"For audiences who are unfamiliar with Eskimos (or another Native American group) the material provides a vivid account of life in Arctic coastal villages. . . . For readers whose image of the Eskimo world is the snow house, skin clothing, and dog teams . . . the descriptions of village life will go a long way in dispelling misconceptions fostered by a romantic idealism about 'The Untouched Primitive.'"--Douglas D. Anderson, Brown University

From the Back Cover
"For anyone interested in the 'modernization' of aboriginal peoples anywhere, this work is an essential source." (W. H. Oswalt, University of California, Los Angeles)

About the Author
Joseph G. Jorgensen is Professor of Comparative Culture and Social Science at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of the prize-winning The Sun Dance Religion: Power for the Powerless, and two other books.



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