The Wake of the Unseen Object: Among The Native Cultures Of Bush Alaska

In this personal narrative, Tom Kizzia tells of a journey through the outback of Alaska in search of North America’s last aboriginal landscapes. In the wilderness of the outer coast, Kizzia finds an indigenous people whose traditions are as pressed by the twentieth century as is the primeval land they inhabit and learns how the complexities of modern times have given rise to a Native sovereignty movement, as tribal elders and a troubled younger generation struggle to reconcile their centuries-old traditions with a new age of Native capitalism and rock and roll. Through vivid portraits of characters and places along the way, the author describes his discovery of a magical mix of worlds–a team of Indian boys journeying downriver to a softball game–a spontaneous midnight whale hunt in the Bering Sea–and begins to see Alaska from a new perspective. Just as Eskimo hunters watch the water for the wake of their unseen quarry, Kizzia keeps his eye on the visibly changing life in the bush while managing to grasp the invisible spiritual strength of a people who embrace the heart of nature–and to portray in The Wake of the Unseen Object the efforts of those who are working to make that way of life endure.