In the summer of 1963, anthropologist Jean Briggs journeyed to the Canadian Northwest Territories (now Nunavut) to begin a seventeen-month field study of the Utku, a small group of Inuit First Nations people who live at the mouth of the Back River, northwest of Hudson Bay. Living with a family as their “adopted” daughter—sharing their iglu during the winter and pitching her tent next to theirs in the summer—Briggs observed the emotional patterns of the Utku in the context of their daily life.
In this perceptive and highly enjoyable volume the author presents a behavioral description of the Utku through a series of vignettes of individuals interacting with members of their family and with their neighbors. Finding herself at times the object of instruction, she describes the training of the child toward achievement of the proper adult personality and the handling of deviations from this desired behavior.
Absorbingly and affectingly written. A remarkable book…one that bids to become an anthropological classic.
Jean L. Briggs is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Memorial University.