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162 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 connected with chronic warfare and raiding that produced trophies such as skulls and the ubiquitous severed arms. McDowell concludes that ritual cannibalism similar to that of the Kwakiutl can be found in many different Northwest Coast tribes. In his concluding chapters, McDowell presents his own messages concerning environmentalism and the search for a new moral order in which he attempts to draw upon the rituals of Northwest Coast peoples. Although interesting, this perspective simply does not contribute to the present study. Notwithstanding some minor eccentricities, McDowell's book makes significant contributions to the debates on Northwest Coast cannibalism. However, some questions still remain unanswered and more will be said on the subject in the future. (CHRISTON 1. ARCHER) John Moss, editor. Echoing Silence: Essays on Arctic Narrative Reappraisals: Canadian Writers 20. University of Ottawa Press 1997. viii, 236. $27.00 In the University of Ottawa's twentieth volume of proceedings from its annual conference on Canadian literature, organizer John Moss has assembled nearly all the presentations made in Ottawa in April 1995. Many papers appear unchanged from their initial form, while others have undergone revision. Moss provides a brief introduction.The word J Arctic' is misspelled on the title page, but this instance, though glaring, is one of few misspellings in the volume. Despite being titled JEssays,' the contributions vary widely. Some are analyses; as many of these are by established critics (Sherrill Grace, Kenneth Hoeppner, Shelagh Grant, Constance Martin, Aron Senkpiel, and Miehael Kennedy) as by new academics (Edward Parkinson, Joan Strong, Renee Hulan,Marlene Goldman, and Lorrie Graham and TimWilson). Historian David Woodman provides an overview of his published research to date without, so far as I can tell, breaking new ground, and H.G. Jones discusses at an introductory level the texts of the Frobisher expedition and the chiefly archaeologieal investigations of the ongoing Frobisher project. Graham Rowley offers a brief excerpt from Cold ComfortI his then forthcoming memoir. Angela Robbeson edits a conversation between Farley Mowat and Harold Horwood which never got off the ground at the conference, and Mary Carpenter tells two stories. Rudy Wiebe looks again at the first Franklin expedition but shows that the chip against the British that he carries on his shoulder enervates his imaginative efforts to dramatize cultural contact, and so leaves the contact zone merely polarized. Aritha van Herk plays with the figure ofWillem Barentsz (late sixteenth-century Dutch explorer for a Northeast Passage) in a narrative exercise the imaginative yield of which is disappointingly slight. Cartoonist, editor, and writer Alootook Jpellie offers a careful and calculated autobiographical sketch. HUMANITIES 163 Wayne Grady's 'On Making History' is the best of the writers' contributions , offering an exciting discussion of the North Pole. A single deficiency issues from Grady's decision to polarize knowledge into history or myth; in fact, what one has at the North Pole (where there is no land), as not at the South, is the ever-moving possibility of all temporal and spatial direction: history is myth is science is geography is, pace Wallace Stevens on snow, the nothing that is not there and the nothing that is. Of the critics, Shelagh Grant offers a balanced survey of published narratives and their relation to Inuit ora] tradition, and, in what amounts to a useful annotated bibliography, Michael Kennedy canvasses the various uses to which Inuit and white writers have put the myth ofSedna. Kennedy also argues that 'part of the durability of the Goddess of the Sea legend lies in the fact that it has met the needs of the people within whose culture it has been kept alive.' This last point is remarkable for how it contrasts with this collection. So often one hears from northern Native elders that you cannot survive in the North unless you depend on others; yet so many of these narrative explorations bear such strong signs of individualistic southern culture that collectively they misrepresent the North. In his introduction, rather than identifying this tension between the individual and the communat Moss, whose own versions of the Arctic are very personal, if not solipsistic, rather cavalierly shifts to the reader the onus of understanding how the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 162-163
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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