Description

Our Grandparents Names on the Land

Edited by Thomas F. Thornton

  • Published: 2010
  • Subject Listing: Native American Studies, Western History, Linguistics
  • Bibliographic information: 256 pp., 61 illus., 8.50 x 11 in.
  • Published with: Sealaska Heritage Institute
  • Contents

Haa Léelk'w Has Aaní Saax'u / Our Grandparents' Names on the Land presents the results of a collaborative project with Native communities of Southeast Alaska to record indigenous geographic names. Documenting and analyzing more than 3,000 Tlingit, Haida, and other Native names on the land, it highlights their descriptive force and cultural significance. With community maps, tables, and photographs, this book will be invaluable for those seeking to understand Alaska Native geographic perspectives.

As Tlingits from the Hoonah Indian Association explain in the book: "Long before Russian, French, Spanish, and British explorers mapped and named the mountains and bays of the Huna Tlingit homeland, we identified special places in our own vibrant, descriptive ways. Tlingit place names reflect important natural resources, ancestral stories, sacred places, and major geological and historic events. Our place names describe more than just inanimate locations for we perceive the mountains, glaciers, and streams to be as alive and aware as ourselves. Rather, they capture the history, emotions, and stories of our enduring relationship with a living, evolving landscape."
Thomas F. Thornton is professor of anthropology at Portland State University, Oregon. He is the author of Being and Place among the Tlingit.
Reviews

". . . a remarkable contribution to a growing scholarship on the importance of place in Native American communities . . . and should serve as a model for future research concerning the preservation of indigenous place names."
-Shawn Bailey, Pacific Northwest Quarterly

". . . a landmark book documenting more than 3,000 Native place names and their locations in Southeast Alaska. . . . the most comprehensive study of its kind."
-SitNews, April 2012

"A rich geographical and cultural reference, all the more fascinating for its ability to reintroduce us to the place we live."
-Amy Fletcher, Juneau Empire, April 2012