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The Dance Festivals of the Alaskan Eskimo

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Published: 1914
Language: English
Wordcount: 10,909 / 39 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 56.3
LoC Categories: GN,
Downloads: 489
Added to site: 2008.09.06
mnybks.net#: 21994
Genre: History
Excerpt

The chief characters in the Totem and Comic Dances wear masks and carry staves decorated with feathers. Occasionally the women assistants carry feathered wands (Kelízruk).

Of the masks there is a great variety ranging from the plain wooden masks to those of such great size that they are suspended from the ceiling of the kásgi by a cord while the dancer performs behind them.

The Cape Prince of Wales (Kinígumiut) Eskimo construct complete figures of their totems. These are worked by means of concealed strings by the performers, a climax of art which is supposed to be particularly pleasing to the spirits addressed. Then the shaman (Túngalik)[9] has his own set of masks, hideous enough to strike terror to even the initiated. Each one of these represents a familiar spirit (túnghat)[10] which assists him in his operations.

[9] Tungrálik, Yukon dialect.

[10] Tungrániyak, Yukon dialect.

Ordinary dance masks may be made by anyone, but

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Matthew Bayan
Matthew Bayan is the only person in the world to die and be brought back to life 72 times. He is best known for his book, Eat Fat Be Healthy that describes this experience. Bayan however also had a very adventurous childhood and felt inspired to write down some of those memories after a high school reunion. This formed the backdrop for his coming-of-age mystery, The Firecracker King. As our Author of the Day, Bayan tells us all about it.
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