The Sociality of Indigenous Dance in Alaska
Happiness, Tradition, and Environment among Yupik on St. Lawrence Island and Iñupiat in Utqiaġvik
This book explores indigenous dances and social relationships surrounding the dance activities among Yupik on St. Lawrence Island and Iñupiat in Utqiaġvik, Northern Alaska. Yupik and Iñupiat proudly distinguish their indigenous styles of dance, locally called ‘Eskimo dance’, from Western styles of dance, such as ballroom, disco or ballet. Based on two years of intensive fieldwork and 18 years of experience living in Alaska, Ikuta sets out to understand how Yupik and Iñupiaq dances are at the centre of social relationships with the environment, among humans, between humans and animals, and between Native and the Euro-American societies. It also examines how the nature and structure of dance are connected to cultural politics, wrought by political, economic and historical events.
Table of Contents
Introduction; 1 Political Landscape of St. Lawrence Island Yupik and Iñupiaq Dance; 2 Dance, Drum, and Song as Equilateral Triangle; 3 Embodied Knowledge and Relations with the Environment; 4 Dance, Happiness and Personhood; 5 Ways of Speaking and Ways of Dancing; 6 Indigenous Dance, Heritage Festivals and Reciprocity; Conclusion
Hiroko Ikuta is an Anthropologist and Associate Professor at the Kyushu University in Japan. Her research interests include expressive culture, human-animal relationships, sustainable development, climate change and wildlife management in Alaska.