On Our Shelves Now
Shem Pete (1896-1989), a colorful and brilliant raconteur from Susitna Station, Alaska, left a rich legacy of knowledge about the Upper Cook Inlet Dena'ina world. Shem was one of the most versatile storytellers and historians in twentieth century Alaska, and his lifetime travel map of approximately 13,500 square miles is one of the largest ever documented with this degree of detail anywhere in the world. The first two editions of Shem Pete's Alaska contributed much to Dena'ina cultural identity and public appreciation of the Dena'ina place names network in Upper Cook Inlet. This new edition adds nearly thirty new place names to its already extensive source material from Shem Pete and more than fifty other contributors, along with many revisions and new annotations. The authors provide synopses of Dena'ina language and culture and summaries of Dena'ina geographic knowledge, and they also discuss their methodology for place name research. Exhaustively refined over more than three decades, Shem Pete's Alaska will remain the essential reference work on the landscape of the Dena'ina people of Upper Cook Inlet. As a book of ethnogeography, Native language materials, and linguistic scholarship, the extent of its range and influence is unlikely to be surpassed.
About the Author
James Kari is professor emeritus of linguistics with the Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the author or editor of numerous publications on Athabascan languages and peoples. James Fall is statewide program manager for the Division of Subsistence, Alaska Department of Fish and Game.