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Ann Fienup-Riordan

An independent scholar, Ann Fienup-Riordan received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1980. She has lived, worked and taught in Alaska since 1973. During the last twenty years, she has changed the wayAnn Fienup-Riordan she works in response to changing needs. In 1976-77 she carried out field work on Nelson Island in the "classic" anthropological tradition of participant observation, publishing the results in her first book, The Nelson Island Eskimo. Since then she has been involved in half-a-dozen collaborative research projects including work for the Association of Village Council Presidents, the Yupiit Nation, the Toksook Bay Traditional Council and for the Coastal-Yukon Mayors' Association and the Anchorage Museum of History and Art in their efforts to organize the Yup'ik mask exhibit "Agayuliyararput: Our Way of Making Prayer".

Since 1999 she has worked with the Calista Elders Council on a number of community-initiated proejcts, reflected in her major publications, including Wise Words of the Yup'ik People: We Talk to You because We Love You, Yuungnaqpiallerput/The Way We Genuinely Live, and Ellavut/Our Yup'ik World and Weather: Continuity and Change on the Bering Sea Coast.

In 1978 when her daughter Frances was born, she came to the conclusion that of the three things she wanted to do -- write, teach and raise kids -- she could juggle no more than two. She has since divided her time between research and writing projects: "Eskimo Essays"; "The Real People and the Children of Thunder"; "Boundaries and Passages"; "Freeze Frame: Alaska Eskimos in the Movies"; and "The Living Tradition of Yup'ik Masks"; and her children Frances, Jimmy and Nicky. In recognition of her work with Alaska Natives, she received the Alaska Federation of Natives President’s Award in 2000, and in 2001 the Governor’s Award for Distinguished Humanist Educator.

Ph.D., Cultural Anthropology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. 1980
M.A., Cultural Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. 1973.
B.A., Religious Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. 1971.

Click here to download Dr. Fienup-Riordon's CV.