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Arctic Crossing: a Journey Through the Northwest Passage and Inuit Culture

by Waterman, Jonathan A

  • ISBN: 9780375404092
  • ISBN10: 0375404090

Arctic Crossing: a Journey Through the Northwest Passage and Inuit Culture

by Waterman, Jonathan A

  • List Price: $29.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
  • Publish date: 03/01/2001
  • ISBN: 9780375404092
  • ISBN10: 0375404090
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Description: In popular imagination, Eskimos continue to live in igloos, paddle kayaks, and hunt polar bears with spears. But reality for contemporary Inuit -- their preferred name -- is a far cry from this romanticized notion of the noble savage. Wrought with contradictions, Inuit culture is engaged in a tug-of-war between tradition and powerful influences from the south.

In 1997, Jonathan Waterman began a 2,200-mile solo journey across the Arctic. We see him with Inuit from Alaska to Nunavut, Canada's new, 770,000-square-mile, Inuit-governed province. He offers first-hand observations of their life, language, and beliefs, and records their reactions to global assimilation. He documents their centuries of unjust treatment at the hands of "Kabloona" ("bushy-eyebrowed" whites) and writes of unemployment, teen suicide, and substance abuse. And he is present as Inuit stand on the brink of a more hopeful, self-determined future.

At the same time, Waterman reveals the physical risks and psychological dangers of crossing the Arctic alone by kayak, skis, and dogsled. Evoking the barren beauty of the landscape and its wildlife, he recalls earlier explorers -- and their often brilliantly unsuccessful attempts to complete the elusive Northwest Passage -- who, like him, were enraptured by both The People and their unique perspective from the top of the world.

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