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The Dance Festivals of the Alaskan Eskimo   By: (1883-)

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Transcriber's Notes: 1) There are a number of words in the native language that appear to mean the same thing, but have different accents. It is unknown if this is intentional or a printing error these have been left as printed. eg: Nuleága / núleaga ... Takináka / takínaka / Takinaka ... Wáhok / wahok 2) Characters with diacritical marks are noted as follows: Acute ['x] macron [=x] combined ['=x] Macron (below) [x=] Dot above [.x] Breve [)x]

UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA THE UNIVERSITY MUSEUM ANTHROPOLOGICAL PUBLICATIONS VOL. VI No. 2

THE DANCE FESTIVALS OF THE ALASKAN ESKIMO

BY E. W. HAWKES

PHILADELPHIA PUBLISHED BY THE UNIVERSITY MUSEUM 1914

CONTENTS

PAGE INTRODUCTION 5 PHONETIC KEY 7 THE DANCE IN GENERAL 9 THE CHORUS 10 PARTICIPATION OF THE SEXES 11 THE KÁSGI OR DANCE HOUSE 13 PARAPHERNALIA 15 THE DANCE FESTIVALS 19 THE ASKING FESTIVAL 22 THE BLADDER FEAST 26 THE FEASTS TO THE DEAD 29 THE ANNUAL FEAST, AIL['=I]GI 31 THE GREAT FEAST, AÍTHUK['=A]TUKHTUK 33 THE FEAST GIVERS 34 THE RITUAL 35 THE CLOTHING OF THE NAMESAKES 38 THE INVITING IN FESTIVAL 40

INTRODUCTION

This account of the Dance Festivals of the Alaskan Eskimo was written from material gathered in the Bering Strait District during three years' residence: two on the Diomede Islands, and one at St. Michael at the mouth of the Yukon River. This paper is based on my observations of the ceremonial dances of the Eskimo of these two localities.

PHONETIC KEY

[=a], [=e], [=i], [=o], [=u], long vowels.

a, e, i, o, u, short vowels.

ä, as in hat.

â, as in law.

ai, as in aisle.

au, as ow in how.

h, w, y, semivowels.

c, as sh in should.

f, a bilabial surd.

g, as in get.

['g], a post palatal sonant.

k, as in pick.

l, as in lull.

m, as in mum.

n, as in nun.

ng, as ng in sing.

p, as in pipe.

q, a post palatal surd.

[.r], a uvular sonant spirant.

s, as in sauce.

t, an alveolar stop.

tc, as ch in chapter.

v, a bilabial sonant.

z, as in zone.

THE DANCE FESTIVALS OF THE ALASKAN ESKIMO

THE DANCE IN GENERAL

The ceremonial dance of the Alaskan Eskimo is a rhythmic pantomime the story in gesture and song of the lives of the various Arctic animals on which they subsist and from whom they believe their ancient clans are sprung. The dances vary in complexity from the ordinary social dance, in which all share promiscuously and in which individual action is subordinated to rhythm, to the pantomime totem dances performed by especially trained actors who hold their positions from year to year according to artistic merit.[1] Yet even in the totem dances the pantomime is subordinate to the rhythm, or rather superimposed upon it, so that never a gesture or step of the characteristic native time is lost.

This is a primitive 2 4 beat based on the double roll of the chorus of drums. Time is kept, in the men's dances, by stamping the foot and jerking the arm in unison, twice on the right, then twice on the left side, and so on, alternately. Vigorous dancers vary the program by leaping and jumping at intervals, and the shamans are noted for the dizzy circles which they run round the púgyarok, the entrance hole of the dance hall. The women's dance has the same measure and can be performed separately or in conjunction with the men's dance, but has a different and distinctly feminine movement... Continue reading book >>




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