The Alaskana Award is given every year to a publication that has made a significant contribution to the understanding of Alaska, that exhibits originality, depth of research and knowledge of Alaska. This year’s winner is Imam Cimiucia: Our Changing Sea by Anne Salomon, Henry Huntington, Nick Tanape Sr. and Principal Photographer Lisa Williams.
This book offers a unique perspective of looking at environmental change within the ecosystem around the Kenai Peninsula, in particular the black leather chiton, a small marine mollusk more commonly known as the “bidarki” (Russian for“little kayak”). Not only does the book look at the decline of the bidarki scientifically, but it also gives a native and historical perspective to this little creature. At over one hundred pages in length, this book is beautifully put together with a number of illustrations, including historical photographs and quotes from villagers.
The book is sectioned into five main chapters beginning with the how and why the project was started, then a timeline that starts from prehistory to current ways of living, to the web of effects on the ecosystem and what we can do to help the survival of this little shellfish. A combination of science and traditional knowledge, this is a story of the ecosystem of the Kenai Peninsula written in a way that flows easily to the reader. The book not only explains what is happening to the bidarki and the environment, but it gives us a vivid picture of the course of events with photographs and illustrations on almost every page.
Anchorage Museum Atwood Resource Center