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ALASKAN ESKIMO EXPLOITATION OF THE SEA ICE ENVIRONMENT
Rept. for 1 Oct 1964-1 Oct 1965
WISCONSIN UNIV-MADISON DEPT OF ANTHROPOLOGY
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Studies were conducted mainly at the Eskimo village of Wainwright, Alaska, with supplementary research done at Point Barrow and Point Hope. A primary aim was to gather information concerning survival on the sea ice by a systematic study of both contemporary and traditional Eskimo hunting, travel, and other sea ice practices. Principal emphasis of the study was on observation and participation, with informal interviews utilized whenever actual hunting and travelling were not going on. The author lived as closely as possible to the native pattern. Data are organized in terms of environmental phenomena or stimuli likely to occur in the Arctic, and activities or responses which the sea ice traveller must make in order to cope with these external forces or to utilize resources which the environment provides. These forces are divided into 1 physical environment, including temperature, wind, atmospheric phenomena such as clouds and snow, astronomical phenomena such as sunlight and aurora, and sea ice and 2 biological environment which the Eskimo exploits on the sea ice, including invertebrates, fish, birds and mammals. Since the Eskimo has become exposed to outside influence, much of the traditional culture is being lost, and the introduction and use of firearms caused revolutionary changes in hunting methods. Today the Eskimo combines traditional and modern practices in surviving in and exploiting the sea ice environment.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE