An Inupiat Teacher's Photographs of Alaska Village Life, 1907-1932

Edited by Eileen Norbert

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  • $44.95 hardcover (9780295999333) Add to Cart
  • Published: December 2016
  • Subject Listing: Native American and Indigenous Studies; Art / Photography
  • Bibliographic information: 160 pp., 100 illus., 10 x 8 in.
  • Published with: Sealaska Heritage Institute
  • Contents

Menadelook showcases nearly one hundred photographs taken by the Inupiat photographer Charles Menadelook that document life in Wales in the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia, in the early 1900s. Photographs of Inupiat life in the early twentieth century are rare, and photographs taken by an indigenous person are nearly nonexistent. These photographs provide a unique view into the Inupiat world during the early twentieth century and give both a pictorial and Native perspective on Inupiat traditions and historical events.
Charles Menadelook, an Inupiat, was born in Wales, Alaska, in 1892. One of the first Alaskan Natives to become a teacher, he taught in Diomede, Shishmaref, Shaktoolik, Kotzebue, Noatak, Sinuk, Nome, Gambell, and Unalaska. The book is edited by Menadelook's granddaughter, Eileen Norbert, who first started collecting these photographs as a senior in anthropology at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Norbert realized the value of this historic collection, and for more than thirty years she meticulously researched and recorded the stories behind the photographs.

"The story of Menadelook's life is fascinating and well told and would be a worthy book even without the photographs, but to have the pictures as well makes this volume a treasure. . . . Much like the Menadelook we meet in these pages, this book is modest on the surface, but its contribution to Alaska is profound. It presents a world that would be completely vanished but for the presence of one man and his camera."
-David A. James, Alaska Dispatch News