Stories Future Generations

Stories Future Generations

by Paul John, Sophie Shield, Ann Fienup-Riordan
     
 

Before it was written, this book was spoken. For ten winter days in 1977, the orator Paul John—widely respected as a dean of Yup’ik elders, and recognized for his tireless advocacy of Yup’ik language and traditions—held an audience of Yup’ik students rapt at Nelson Island High School, in southwest Alaska. Hour after hour he spoke to the

Overview

Before it was written, this book was spoken. For ten winter days in 1977, the orator Paul John—widely respected as a dean of Yup’ik elders, and recognized for his tireless advocacy of Yup’ik language and traditions—held an audience of Yup’ik students rapt at Nelson Island High School, in southwest Alaska. Hour after hour he spoke to the young people, sharing life experiences and Yup’ik narratives, never repeating a tale. Now, more than a quarter-century after Paul John’s extraordinary performance, Sophie Shield’s translations and Ann Fienup-Riordan’s editing have brought his words back to life, and to a new audience. This book records one elder’s attempt to create a moral universe for future generations through stories about the special knowledge of the Yup’ik people.

Tales both authentically Yup’ik and marked by Paul John’s own unique innovations are presented in a bilingual edition, with Yup’ik and English text presented in facing pages. As Paul John says, "In this whole world, whoever we are, if people speak using their own language, they will be presenting their identity and it will be their strength."

Editorial Reviews

Choice

Fienup-Riordan is renowned for her intelligent anthropological essays and for her close involvement with Yup'ik communities..[This] volume is remarkable because it presents not only an incredible variety of narratives, but also documents the wealth of oral narratives that one individual might possess. The book is a marvelous contribution to the study of Eskimo literature and oratory.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780295983509
Publisher:
University of Washington Press
Publication date:
02/28/2004
Pages:
856
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Paul John was among the last to receive a traditional Yup'ik education, spending his childhood in the communal men's house, where he heard constant recitations of Yup'ik tales and personal experiences. In 2002 he received the Alaska Governor's Award as Distinguished Humanities Educator. Sophie Shield is an accomplished translator and educator working for the Bilingual Department of the Lower Kuskokwan School District in Bethel, Alaska. Ann Fienup-Riordan is an anthropologist and author of numerous books on the peoples of Alaska, including The Living Tradition of Yup'ik Masks, Agayuliyararput: Our Way of Making Prayer, and Freeze Frame: Alaska Eskimos in the Movies.

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