Playing With Fish
And Other Lessons from the North

by Robert J. Wolfe 
 
Robert J. Wolfe, a cultural anthropologist from California, spent twenty years in Alaska documenting the traditional hunting and fishing practices of Alaska Natives. During that northern sojourn he discovered much about sustainable relationships between people and nature and about the basis of meaningful communities. In Playing with Fish he has crafted a series of thought-provoking essays on nature, culture, and the human condition that convey unsuspected lessons from the North. In contrasting California and Alaska — worlds far apart yet connected by peoples, cultural traditions, and ecology — Wolfe not only draws distinctions between compass points, he also conveys memorable stories about nature and life. He depicts bears and humans as both neighbors and ancient adversaries, and how cultural views about bears can destroy or preserve those relationships. He shows us Alaskan villages where security is found not in locks but in neighbors, unlike electronically sealed suburban California homes, their lawns studded with security signs. And he describes the peaceful resolution of conflict between California bird hunters and Eskimos of the Bering Sea coast over declining geese numbers, where small humanizing acts tipped the balance in favor of cooperation. Blending insights into subjects as diverse as music and chaos theory, Wolfe challenges readers to reflect on their own personal conduct within nature and within our multicultural world. Playing with Fish is a delightful and insightful collection of modern parables that offer a new way of looking at cultural and ecological issues, reminding us that the road between two worlds is always a two-way street.. Playing with Fish
Playing With Fish And Other Lessons from the North 
by Robert J. Wolfe 
University of Arizona Press, 2006
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