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Many people have a mental picture of the Canadian north that juxtaposes beauty with harshness. For the Van Tat Gwich'in, the northern Yukon is home, with a living history passed on from elders to youth. This book consists of oral accounts that the Elders have been recording for 50 years, representing more than 150 years of their history, all meticulously translated from Gwich'in. Yet this is more than a gathering of history; collaborator Shirleen Smith provides context for the stories, whether they are focused on an individual or international politics. Anthropologists, folklorists, ethnohistorians, political scientists, economists, members of First Nations, and readers interested in Canada's northernmost regions will find much to fascinate them.
The Van Tat Gwich'in provided the guidance and translation for this book, and Gwich'in Elders shared their knowledge and were the impetus. Shirleen Smith lives in Edmonton, Alberta, and holds a doctorate in Anthropology from the University of Alberta.