This is the life history of the daughter of Asianggataq, an Eskimo woman, and her husband Charles Bower, the first white settler in Alaska’s northernmost community of Barrow. One of ten children, Sadie Brower was raised with a mixture of Inupiat and white traditions. Sent Outside for modern schooling, she returned to Barrow to use her education on behalf o her people. Now in her seventies, she has devoted a lifetime to public service, first as a Bureau of Indian Affairs schoolteacher, than as a health aide, a foster parent, a welfare worker, and, for twenty years, as Barrow’s magistrate. She became a key figure in the introduction of the American legal system to bush Alaska as well as an outspoken advocate for people, eventually winning the right for the native language to be the language of the court in cases where the defendants could not speak English. Equally important, in private life she has borne thirteen children as wife to Nate Neakok, an Inupiaq hunter and whaling captain who, she states emphatically, "never went to school, but know more than I did, a college student, a teacher."
Professor Blackman places Sadie Neakok’s vivid narrative within the context of the recent history of Barrow and Alaska’ North Slope, interweaving cultural and historical data from various sources with Sadie’s own perspectives on herself, her people, and the outside world that has increasingly affected them. Blackman’s concluding chapter offers a perceptive critical evaluation of the life history process itself. The book makes an important contribution to Alaskan cultural and legal history, to life history methodology, and to studies of women in cross-cultural perspective.