Where the Echo Began

and Other Oral Traditions from Southwestern Alaska Recorded by Hans Himmelheber. Ed.

Ann Fienup-Riordan

Where the Echo Began

Ann Fienup-Riordan

Distributed for University of Alaska Press

224 pages | black and white duotone photos | 8-1/2 x 11 | © 2000
Cloth $39.95 ISBN: 9781889963037 Published April 2000
In this book, the Native people of southwest Alaska generously share the traditional stories that form the expressive core of their unique culture. The lifeways observed and anecdotes recounted to a then-young university graduate, who recorded and compiled them in communities on Nunivak Island and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, offer a glimpse today of a longstanding way of life.

In the mid-1930s, Hans Himmelheber closely observed the Yup’ik and Cup’ig people who offered him hospitality, paying heed to their stories and anecdotes; he photographed them just as carefully, capturing their activities with technical elegance while simultaneously preserving unstudied moments in the people’s lives. Himmelheber’s photographs also honor his informants, for as one of them told him regarding his people’s artwork, "you know every picture has a meaning." The majority of these photographs have not been published before.

This book includes the translated contents of Himmelheber’s The Frozen Path: Myths, Tales, and Legends of the Eskimos; "Ethnographic Notes on the Nunivak Eskimos"; "Noseblood as Adhesive Material for Color Paint among the Eskimos" ; and "Unimaginable Miracles in the Poetry of Western Africa and the Eskimos," originally released in German. Kurt and Ester Vitt’s translation is readable and clear. Editor Ann Fienup-Riordan, herself a distinguished ethnographer known for her work in southwest Alaska, provides annotation and a detailed discussion of Himmelheber’s role as observer and recorder in a thoughtful, scholarly introduction.

Though much has changed in the last half century, Yup’ik and Cup’ig orators continue to tell stories to educate and amuse their listeners. With this English translation, Himmelheber has passed on what he learned to Native and non-Native readers alike.



Hans Himmelheber: Making His Own Path

Himmelheber’s Alaska Year

The Frozen Path

The Frozen Path: Myths, Tales, and Legends of the Eskimos


The Prose Poetry of the Nunivak Eskimos

Creation Stories

How the Raven Created Nunivak Island

How a Woman Came Down from the Sky and Created Nunivak Island

Support Anecdote: The Star

How Nunivak Island Received its Population


How Sun and Moon Came to Be

About a Girl who was Unwilling to Marry

Wolves as Human Beings

Where the Echo Began

Support Anecdote: The Raven

A Shaman Story

Support Anecdote: Crackling the Eyes of Murres

Animal Stories

How the Raven Deceived Various Animals

Great Adventures of a Little Mouse

Support Anecdote: The Disobedient Mouse

People’s Stories

The Expelled Woman

The Expelled Woman (Second Version)

Support Anecdote: The Wooden Wedge

The Woman with Five Husbands

About a Man Who Ran Away from His Wives

The Evil Sister

The Needlefish

Experiences of a Tree

About a Father Who Wished a Daughter for Himself

The Five Kayak Travelers

Support Anecdote: The Man and the Loon

How a Brother and Sister Met Other Human Beings for the First Time

Ancestor Stories

The Glutton

The Big and Little Brother

The Wooden Hat

Strange Hunting Adventure

The Father and His Child

Wolf Adventure

Adventure of a Couple in Love

Swan Flight

The Fight with the Walrus

Two Strong Men

The Kayak

Danced Ancestor Story

Ethnographic Notes on the Nunivak Eskimos

Festivals of the Nunivak Eskimos

Agaiach [Asiggluteng], The Women’s Dancing

Nagatschuchdachelu’ting [Nakacugtarluteng], The Bladder Festival

Kokchlu’ting [Qupluteng], Halving It

Beduchdacheluni [Petugtarluni], Small Things are Hanging

Religious Ideas

The Shaman



The Good Number Six

Fire Drilling

Manufacture of Wooden Eating Bowls

Games of the Eskimos

Selected Writings

The Use of Noseblood as a Binding Agent for Paint Colors Among the Eskimos

Unimaginable Miracles in the Poetry of Western Africa and the Eskimos

Yup’ik and Cup’ig Oral Traditions

Translation and Transciption

Dog Husband

Retelling an Old Tale

Story by Robert Kolerak; recorded, transcribed, and translated by Marie Meade

Hans Himmelheber: Selected Bibliography



About the Editor

For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://press.uchicago.edu
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style

RSS Feed

RSS feed of the latest books from University of Alaska Press. RSS Feed