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The Sociologist's EyeReflections on Social Life$
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Kai Erikson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300106671

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300106671.001.0001

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It Seemed Like the Whole Bay Died

It Seemed Like the Whole Bay Died

(p.250) It Seemed Like the Whole Bay Died
The Sociologist's Eye

Kai Erikson

Yale University Press

This chapter examines the impact of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on the Native peoples of Alaska. The disaster occurred in March 1989, when the supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on a reef in Prince William Sound. At least eleven million gallons of crude oil blackened more than a thousand miles of Alaskan coastline. The chapter considers what harm the disaster did to the Native individuals exposed to it and what damage it caused to the texture of their customary ways of life. In particular, it analyzes the ways that the oil spill affected the Alutiiq people's subsistence life as well as the Native way of being. It also discusses the Alutiiq's feeling of homelessness in the wake of the disaster.

Keywords:   homelessness, Exxon Valdez oil spill, Native peoples, Alaska, Exxon Valdez, Prince William Sound, crude oil, Alutiiq people, subsistence life

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