Alliance and Conflict begins at the period of early contact (1800-48) and sets out to examine the evolution of societal structures in the Inupiaq Eskimos of Northwest Alaska. The author combines a richly descriptive study of Eskimo society in early nineteenth-century Northwest Alaska with a bold theoretical treatise on the structure of the world system as it might have been in ancient times. Using observations made by early Western explorers, interviews with Native historians, and archeological research, Burch discusses factors such as kinship, leadership, trade and alliances, partnerships, and even skirmishes to develop a unique view of these tribes. This book is a comprehensive analysis of inter-societal relations within a society of hunter-gatherers, describing the social boundaries and geographic borders that formerly existed in Northwest Alaska and the various kinds of transactions that took place across them. The author's meticulous research uncovers engrossing new evidence that will be invaluable to anyone studying hunter-gatherer societies and their development.
About the author
Ernest S. Burch is a research associate in the Arctic Studies Centre, Smithsonian Institution. His publications include The Iñupiaq Eskimo Nations of Northwest Alaska and (as co-editor) Key Issues in Hunter-Gatherer Research.