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Walter Harper, Alaska Native Son (Hardback)
  • Walter Harper, Alaska Native Son (Hardback)
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Walter Harper, Alaska Native Son (Hardback)

(author)
£23.99
Hardback 216 Pages / Published: 01/10/2017
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2018 Alaskana Award from the Alaska Library Association
2018 Alaska Historical Society James H. Drucker Alaska Historian of the Year Award

Walter Harper, Alaska Native Son illuminates the life of the remarkable Irish-Athabascan man who was the first person to summit Mount Denali, North America's tallest mountain. Born in 1893, Walter Harper was the youngest child of Jenny Albert and the legendary gold prospector Arthur Harper. His parents separated shortly after his birth, and his mother raised Walter in the Athabascan tradition, speaking her Koyukon-Athabascan language. When Walter was seventeen years old, Episcopal archdeacon Hudson Stuck hired the skilled and charismatic youth as his riverboat pilot and winter trail guide. During the following years, as the two traveled among Interior Alaska's Episcopal missions, they developed a father-son-like bond and summited Denali together in 1913.

Walter's strong Athabascan identity allowed him to remain grounded in his birth culture as his Western education expanded, and he became a leader and a bridge between Alaska Native peoples and Westerners in the Alaska territory. He planned to become a medical missionary in Interior Alaska, but his life was cut short at the age of twenty-five, in the Princess Sophia disaster of 1918 near Skagway, Alaska.

Harper exemplified resilience during an era when rapid socioeconomic and cultural change was wreaking havoc in Alaska Native villages. Today he stands equally as an exemplar of Athabascan manhood and healthy acculturation to Western lifeways whose life will resonate with today's readers.

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
ISBN: 9780803295902
Number of pages: 216
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Thanks to Ehrlander . . . we get this wonderfully written testament to a life of adventure. The Walter Harper we come to know is immensely likable, and his escapades irresistible. He was one of the great Alaskans of his time. This book is a fitting tribute."-David A. James, Anchorage Daily News -- David A. James * Anchorage Daily News *
"In Ehrlander's affectionate portrait a century later, Walter Harper reclaims some of his lost potential to serve as a "role model for individuals with mixed heritage the world over.""-Margaret Thomas, Alaska History -- Margaret Thomas * Alaska History *
"Ehrlander's portrait is of a remarkable young man who lived life to the fullest. An inspiring example of resilience, character, faith, service, and loving-kindness, Walter Harper's legacy is a testament to the native peoples of Alaska, the indomitable human spirit, and the selflessness of those who work as missionaries in the Church in the harshest and remotest of places."-Jason VanBorrsum, Anglican and Episcopal History -- Jason VanBorrsum * Anglican and Episcopal History *
"A fascinating glimpse into a pivotal moment in Alaskan history through the story of the short life of Walter Harper, a protege of the redoubtable missionary Hudson Stuck. The men and women of Alaska were tough and hearty souls."-Steve Thomas, author and host of This Old House and Renovation Nation and grandson of the Reverend William A. Thomas, a contemporary of Walter Harper
-- Steve Thomas
"Not only a fine work of history but a rousing adventure tale and a love story. This is a great book."-Terrence M. Cole, professor of history at the University of Alaska Fairbanks
-- Terrence M. Cole
"A concise picture of Walter Harper's character and personality. This is a historical account of a courageous Athabascan leader whom we all should learn about."-Walter Carlo, chairman of the board of Doyon Limited, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act corporation for the Athabascans of Alaska's interior
-- Walter Carlo
"A fine biography of a young man of talent and energy who successfully coped with two cultures during a time of rapid change in Alaska. Mary Ehrlander has employed crisp and enlightening prose to illuminate both the era and the history of the Yukon region."-John Bockstoce, Arctic historian and archaeologist
-- John Bockstoce
"Mary Ehrlander's assiduous scholarship combined with a delightful storytelling style make Walter Harper, Alaska Native Son both easy to read and available for multiple fields of academic interest."-Phyllis Fast, professor of anthropology emeritus at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and great-niece of Walter Harper

-- Phyllis Fast

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