Fairbanks — Imam Cimiucia: Our Changing Sea is a richly illustrated hardcover book that examines how Alaska’s coastal environment and Native subsistence culture and food harvesting activities have changed over the years around the Kenai Peninsula communities of Nanwalek and Port Graham.
The book, published last year by the Alaska Sea Grant Program, won the 2012 Alaskana Award from the Alaska Library Association (AkLA). The award was presented Feb. 24 at the library association’s annual conference in Fairbanks.
Imam Cimiucia was chosen for “making a significant contribution to the understanding of Alaska, and exhibiting originality, depth of research and knowledge of Alaska,” according to the AkLA. The work is the result of research conducted by Anne Salomon, an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. Coauthors are Henry Huntington and Nick Tanape Sr. Editors are Sue Keller and Kurt Byers, and the graphic designer is Jen Gunderson with Garry Utermohle.
The book presents Native and scientific views of how and why the Kenai coastal ecosystem has changed over the past 50 years. Salomon features documentary photos by Lisa Williams, a California photographer who counts well-known ethnographic photographer James Barker as one of her mentors. Barker’s influence is apparent in Williams’ evocative black and white images of the local children and adults featured in Salomon’s work.
“The book is a wonderfully illustrated description of the reliance on locally harvested food by villagers on the Alaska Kenai Peninsula,” said Barker. “Lisa Williams presents faces that show great strength of character. Through her black and white photos, she shows us the resiliency of family life and how the use of traditional foods are a source of strength, both nutritionally and spiritually.”
Salomon’s book features residents’ opinions and recollections about cultural and environmental change, in both English and Sugt’stun languages.
The Alaskana award was established in 1994 to honor outstanding adult fiction and nonfiction works about Alaska published in any format. Works that make a significant contribution to the understanding of Alaska, that exhibit originality, depth of research and knowledge of Alaska, and are published in the calendar year preceding the AkLA conference at which the award will be presented will be considered.
For more information online, see:
Imam Cimiucia: Our Changing Sea at the Alaska Sea Grant Bookstore
2012 Alaska Library Association Conference