Rifles, Blankets, and Beads: Identity, History, and the Northern Athapaskan Potlatch
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
Sales Date: 2002-11-04
Published: November 2002
216 Pages, 139.00 x 215.00 x 12.70 mm, 7 b&w and 3 maps
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Whoever heard of a party at which the hosts lavishly give away presents, refusing to accept any gifts in return, keeping little for themselves? This is the custom of the Northern Athapaskan potlatch, a tradition that has long fascinated Americans. In Rifles, Blankets, and Beads, William E. Simeone explores the potlatch and its role in balancing competition and cooperation among the Tanacross people, a Northern Athapaskan culture.
According to Simeone, the potlatch tradition helps the Tanacross people uphold standards of acceptable behavior through curbing competitiveness and stressing the ideals of cooperation. Simeone also examines Northern Athapaskan leadership practices, the introduction of trade goods into Athapaskan culture, and the complexities of cultural identity for the Tanacross.