Across the Shaman’s River

John Muir, the Tlingit Stronghold, and the Opening of the North

Daniel Lee Henry

Across the Shaman’s River

Daniel Lee Henry

Distributed for University of Alaska Press

256 pages | 60 halftones, 1 map | 6 x 9 | © 2017
Paper $32.95 ISBN: 9781602233294 Published December 2017
E-book $32.95 ISBN: 9781602233300 Published July 2017
Across the Shaman’s River is the story of one of Alaska’s last Native American strongholds, a Tlingit community closed off for a century until a fateful encounter between a shaman, a preacher, and John Muir.
            Tucked in the corner of Southeast Alaska, the Tlingits had successfully warded off the Anglo influences that had swept into other corners of the territory. This tribe was viewed by European and American outsiders as the last wild tribe and a frustrating impediment to access. Missionaries and prospectors alike had widely failed to bring the Tlingit into their power. Yet, when John Muir arrived in 1879, accompanied by a fiery preacher, it only took a speech about “brotherhood”—and some encouragement from the revered local shaman Skandoo’o—to finally transform these “hostile heathens.”
            Using Muir’s original journal entries, as well as historic writings of explorers juxtaposed with insights from contemporary tribal descendants, Across the Shaman’s River reveals how Muir’s famous canoe journey changed the course of history and had profound consequences on the region’s Native Americans.
Contents
List of Illustrations
Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Prologue
 
PART ONE: JILKÁAT AANÍ
1 Sojourners
2 Power Plays
3 Moving Heaven and Earth in Klukwan
4 Eagles in the Heart
 
PART TWO: DLEIT AANKÁAWU
5 True Believers
6 Crossed Paths
7 Unbecoming Indians
8 To’watte’s Canoe
9 Brotherhood
10 Wilder Than
11 Trampling the Shaman
 
Epilogue
Selected Chronology
Glossary of Tlingit
Notes
Bibliography
Index
 
Review Quotes
Alaska History
"The product of three decades of thought, research, and attentive listening....Henry shines a bright light on events that have long been shadowy, half-known....Now, thanks to careful scholarship and his access to Tlingit oral history, we are given a different perspective on familiar events: we are inside the Tlingit world, looking out at the changes happening all around them."
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