Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology



First Advisor

Mary Elle Reilly


This thesis examines the integration of Eskimo norms and roles in Northwest Alaska, with particular emphasis on the changing roles of women. The hypothesis states that changes in Eskimo norms and role relations are influenced by Western social factors that impede traditional Eskimo adaptive processes. The principal methodology utilized was participant observation, which involved observation and participation in the full range of summer subsistence fishing, hunting and gathering activities and other elements of women's daily social and economic life in a small Eskimo village, Kiana, during the summer of 1976. Additional data were collected during subsequent visits in 1980 and 1981. Some demographic and socioeconomic data were collected through previously documented research. The methods were designed to consolidate data and concepts necessary to evaluate and reformulate the hypothesis, rather than test it formally. The findings suggest that many Eskimo social practices, norms or roles are not impeded. Successful adaption may be due to the success of traditional Eskimo strategies. Socioeconomic status may not be related to acceptance or rejection of non-traditional Western values. The hypothesis is modified to reflect these data and inferences.



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