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Other titles in the Civilization of the American Indian series:
Rifles, Blankets, and Beads: Identity, History, and the Northern Athapaskan Potlatchby William Simeone
Synopses & Reviews
Whoever heard of a party at which the hosts lavishly give away presents, refusing to accept any gifts in return, keeping little for themselves? This is the custom of the Northern Athapaskan potlatch, a tradition that has long fascinated Americans. In Rifles, Blankets, and Beads, William E. Simeone explores the potlatch and its role in balancing competition and cooperation among the Tanacross people, a Northern Athapaskan culture.
According to Simeone, the potlatch tradition helps the Tanacross people uphold standards of acceptable behavior through curbing competitiveness and stressing the ideals of cooperation. Simeone also examines Northern Athapaskan leadership practices, the introduction of trade goods into Athapaskan culture, and the complexities of cultural identity for the Tanacross.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -186) and index.
About the Author
William E. Simeone works for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Subsistence. He is the author of several books and articles on Northern Athapaskan culture.
Table of Contents
Village and its setting — Invasion; traders, missionaries, and government men in the upper Tanana — Native responses; the integration of trade goods into the potlatch — Tradition bearers; leadership as a reflection of the social order — Images of native and non-native; components of contemporary identity — Funerals and preparations for an upper Tanana River potlatch — Rituals of the upper Tanana River — Conclusion.
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