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Here is a unique view of life as experienced by a young Eskimo. The autobiography was written by a youth in his early twenties who relates the details of his boyhood life, recalling the feelings accompanying his experiences.

In addition to allowing Nathan simply to relate his story thereby illustrating the uniqueness of an individual life, Mr. Hughes sets the autobiography in a broader context, which illustrates the major trends in sociocultural changes in a small and isolated corner of the world. Not only were different answers required in this new evolving world, but different questions were being asked—not how to hunt, but whether to hunt. Not how to train the body, but for what? It is in this kind of world that we see the struggles, the defeats, and the victories of a boy seeking to find his identity and place in life.

Charles C. Hughes is professor of community and family medicine at the University of Utah College of Medicine.

"We are struck by the mixed blessings of the white man’s ‘civilizing’ efforts and charmed to find that Nathan, like most little boys, loved to play and to tease little girls .... Here is an authentic and absorbing look at what seems like life on another planet."—Publishers Weekly

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Nathan Kakianak, Eskimos, St. Lawrence Island


Indigenous Studies

Eskimo Boyhood: An Autobiography in Psychosocial Perspective
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