Paperback / softback
August 3, 2007
360 illus., 320 in color, 10 drawings
12.00 Inches (US)
9.00 Inches (US)
3.84 Pounds (US)
$44.95 USD
v2.1 Reference

Yuungnaqpiallerput / The Way We Genuinely Live

Masterworks of Yup'ik Science and Survival

Honorable mention for the Victor Turner Award for Ethnographic Writing from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology

Honorable mention for the 2008 William Mills Prize for Non-Fiction Polar Books

Survival in the harsh subarctic environment requires great resourcefulness and ingenuity. The Yup'ik people of southwest Alaska meet the challenge by using traditional technology and by following a philosophy that recognizes the personhood of all living things and the environment. Their use of nature's resources is a testament to the mutual respect and generosity that exists between humans and the animals, plants, land, and sea that sustain them.

Wastefulness being disrespectful, Yup'ik elders made use of every last scrap from hunts and harvests: seal guts became warm, waterproof, and breathable parkas; the skins of fish were fashioned into waterproof mittens, while their heads and entrails were stored in naturally refrigerated pits as insurance against future famine. Dried grasses became anything from insulating socks to bedding to sled rope, or even goggles to protect against snow blindness; rancid seal oil mixed with tundra moss became "Yup'ik epoxy" for caulking and gluing; and driving snow was manipulated to provide a defense against its own dangers. Although tools have changed, Yup'ik people today continue to engage in many traditional harvesting activities, using these new means to accomplish distinctly Yup'ik ends.

In Yuungnaqpiallerput / The Way We Genuinely Live, Yup'ik elders examine tools and daily-use items, explaining how they were made and for what purpose. Just as Western science relies on the testing of hypotheses, Yup'ik science developed its technologies through systematic trial and error, yielding ingenious and effective solutions to life's challenges. The elders also delve beyond the practical aspects of these artifacts to elucidate the ways in which their creation and use are part of Yup'ik cosmology and traditional spiritual values. Every item carries special significance, and the actions associated with each should be undertaken with awareness and deliberation, for nothing goes unnoticed by the consciousness of the surrounding universe. Ann Fienup-Riordan explores these manifestations of Yup'ik technology by following the seasonal cycle of harvests and ceremonial renewals, a journey revealing the beauty of these artifacts that extends beyond the aesthetic surface to connect with the living pulse of the universe.

About the Author

Ann Fienup-Riordan is the author of numerous books on the Native peoples of Alaska, including Yup'ik Elders at the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin: Fieldwork Turned on Its Head; The Living Tradition of Yup'ik Masks; Agayuliyararput / Our Way of Making Prayer; Freeze Frame: Alaska Eskimos in the Movies; Eskimo Essays: Yup'ik Lives and How We See Them; and Wise Words of the Yup'ik People: We Talk to You because We Love You. She lives in Anchorage.


"this book brilliantly accomplishes the mission of faithfully portraying the Yup'ik concept of science, or technology as a way of making prayer. Fienup-Riordan's eloquent publication is a meaningful source for interpretation of material culture, whether for the study of contemporary groups or for the reconstruction of life ways and beliefs of past hunter-gatherers."—Études/Inuit/Studies

"Every Native Studies scholar should read every work published by Ann Fienup-Riordan. She is the best contemporary Arctic ethnographer, and among the best anthropologists in the world. [This book] sets an excellent example for the rest of us working within the field of Native Studies."—The Canadian Journal of Native Studies

"These two publications, Paitarkiutenka and Yuungnaqpiallerput, are fitting companions, bringing to life the deep and ancient connections between the Yupik people and their ancestral homeland."—Pacific Northwest Quarterly

"This book belongs on a shelf with the classics of Alaskan anthropology. It will be an indispensable reference to all people interested in northern societies and material culture—- from future generations of Yup'ik harvesters and craftsmen, to museum curators and archaeologists who wish to better understand the remarkable objects in their care."—Alaska History

9780295986692 : yuungnaqpiallerput-the-way-we-genuinely-live-fienup-riordan
Paperback / softback
376 Pages
$44.95 USD

Other Titles by Ann Fienup-Riordan

Agayuliyararput/Our Way of Making Prayer

translated by Marie Meade, edited by Ann Fienup-Riordan
Sep 2015 - University of Washington Press
$99.00 USD - Hardback

Ellavut / Our Yup'ik World and Weather

Ann Fienup-Riordan, Alice Rearden
Sep 2015 - University of Washington Press
$45.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$99.00 USD - Hardback

Qaluyaarmiuni Nunamtenek Qanemciput / Our Nelson Island Stories

edited by Ann Fienup-Riordan, translated by Alice Rearden
Sep 2015 - University of Washington Press
$99.00 USD - Hardback

Other Titles in SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / American / Native American Studies

Seattle from the Margins

Megan Asaka
Sep 2022 - University of Washington Press
$29.95 USD - Hardback


Children of the Setting Sun Productions, edited by Darrell Hillaire, Natasha Frey, photographs by Fay "Beau" Garreau, Jr., with contributions by Lynda V. Mapes, Nicole Brown, afterword by Danita Washington
Jun 2022 - University of Washington Press
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Cherokee Earth Dwellers

Christopher B. Teuton, Hastings Shade, with Loretta Shade, Larry Shade
May 2022 - University of Washington Press
$99.00 USD - Hardback
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles in Ethnic minorities & multicultural studies

Signs of Home

Barbara Johns, foreword by Stephen H. Sumida
Aug 2021 - University of Washington Press
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$49.95 USD - Hardback

Art of the Northwest Coast, second edition

Aldona Jonaitis
Jun 2021 - University of Washington Press
$99.00 USD - Hardback
$29.95 USD - Paperback / softback

The Coming of the Spirit of Pestilence

Robert T. Boyd
Apr 2021 - University of Washington Press
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