In a book made especially timely by the disastrous Exxon Valdez oil spill in March 1989, Joseph Jorgensen analyzes the impact of Alaskan oil extraction on Eskimo society. The author investigated three communities representing three environments: Gambell (St. Lawrence Island, Bering Sea), Wainwright (North Slope, Chukchi Sea), and Unalakleet (Norton Sound). The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, which facilitated oil operations, dramatically altered the economic, social, and political organization of these villages and others like them. Although they have experienced little direct economic benefit from the oil economy, they have assumed many environmental risks posed by the industry. Jorgensen provides a detailed reminder that the Native villagers still depend on the harvest of naturally-occurring resources of the land and sea—birds, eggs, fish, plants, land mammals and sea mammals. Oil Age Eskimos should be read by all those interested in Native American societies and the policies that affect those societies.
This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1990.