[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]. Ward W. Wells, photographer.
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]
[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]

[Photographs of the Nunamiut people of Alaska.]

Anchorage, Anaktuvuk Valley, Alaska, 1960s. 19 press photographs (6.25” x 9.25” to 11.5” x 8”), all photos with caption labels, label of PIX Incorporated, stamp of Westport Public Library, Westport, Connecticut (de-accessioned by them), some with the photographer’s stamp, and some featuring printed text on verso on the Nunamiut people and other subjects.

A collection of press photos of the Nunamiut people of Alaska in the early 1960s, with sharply shot, thoughtfully composed scenes of life during a period of great change, including several shots of important Nunamiut guide and educator Simon Paneak.

Eleven of these photos were taken in 1962 by noted and prolific Alaskan photographer Ward W. Wells. Two photos are of Anna Bortel, a pioneering teacher who began working with Nunamiut children in 1954; and six images are of Simon Paneak and his family. As a caption on the verso of one print indicates, the latter were apparently taken when the Paneak family hosted Wells during his assignment. These quiet, intimate shots of daily life show Paneak inspecting a caribou skin, and reading his mail; his wife Susie sewing a pair of mittens; and their children Alan and Robert loading cartridges for a hunt, and warming up with some tea while dog-sledding. Other photos show two unidentified young women; a photo of a soap box derby in Anchorage; and an unidentified older man who, according to a manuscript inscription on the verso, was recently allowed to vote for the first time (like many others) when Alaska became a state (January 1959). A group of six images by Fred Leavitt captures life in the Anaktuvuk Valley; and four photos by Fairbanks photographer Jack E. Wilson include two portraits of unidentified workers; a shot of an unidentified group of women; and one image of three male Eskimoes of Kotzebue chatting in the village social area. One charming photo of two children in an igloo wearing parkas and one of them smiling is by noted French photo-journalist Dominique Darbois.

Born in 1900 near the Killik River Valley of the north-central Brooks Range, Simon Paneak was raised a traditional Nunamiut caribou hunter, but left inland Alaska in his youth after a devastating famine forced him to find work on the coast. Paneak learned to read, write and speak English, and in his thirties he became part of a movement to return inland and continue traditional ways of life. By the 1940s, scores of scientists, geologists, botanists, and other researchers had come to the Anaktuvuk valley, and Paneak became an important guide and teacher for them—as well as a steadfast champion for the rights and needs of his own community, which had by then relocated to the valley. Paneak was also a devoted historian who traveled across Alaska to record the oral histories and traditions passed down by tribal elders. Today Paneak is recognized as an instrumental figure in bridging a gap between the old world and the new. A museum in the North Slope is named after him.

CONDITION: Very good, occasional creasing and light damage.

Item #6513

Price: $2,250.00

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