Shamanism among Eskimo peoples
Shamanism among Eskimo peoples refers to those aspects of the Eskimo cultures that are related to the shamans’ role as a mediator between people and spirits, souls, and mythological beings. Such beliefs and practices were once widespread among Eskimo groups, but today are rarely practiced. They were already in decline among many groups when the first major ethnological research was done. For example, at the end of the 19th century, Sagdloq died, the last shaman among Polar Eskimos who was believed to be able to travel to the sky and under the sea, and many other shamanic capabilities such as ventriloquism and sleight-of-hand were lost then, too.
The term "Eskimo" has fallen out of favour in Canada and Greenland, where it is considered pejorative and "Inuit" is used instead. However, "Eskimo" is still considered acceptable among Alaska Natives of Yupik and Inupiaq (Inuit) heritage and is preferred over "Inuit" as a collective reference. To date, no replacement term for "Eskimo" inclusive of all Inuit and Yupik people has achieved acceptance across the geographical area inhabited by the Inuit and Yupik peoples. The Inuit and Yupik languages constitute one branch within the Eskimo–Aleut language family and the Aleut language is another. (The Sirenik Eskimo language is sometimes seen as a third branch but sometimes as one of the Yupik languages.)
- 1 Connection to shamanism
- 2 Shamanic initiation
- 3 Special language
- 4 Techniques
- 5 Social position
- 6 Soul concepts
- 7 Secrecy (or novelty) and the neutralizing effect of publicity
- 8 Shamanism in Eskimo groups
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Connection to shamanism
The term "shamanism" has been used for many distinct cultures. Classically, some indigenous cultures of Siberia were described as having shamans, but the term is now commonly used for other cultures as well. In general, the shamanistic belief systems accept that certain people (shamans) can act as mediators with the spirit world, contacting the entities (spirits, souls, and mythological beings) that populate the universe in those systems.
The word "shaman" comes from a Tungusic language and its etymology is debated, one explanation analyzes it meaning "he/she who knows". Shamans use music, recitation of epic, dance, ritual objects and other means to interact with the spirit world — for the benefit of the community or for doing harm. They may have spirits that assist them and may travel to other worlds (or other aspects of this world). Most Eskimo groups had such a mediator function, and the person fulfilling the role was believed to be able to command helping spirits, ask mythological beings (e.g., Nuliayuk among the Netsilik Inuit and Takanaluk-arnaluk in Aua's narration) to "release" the souls of animals, enable the success of the hunt, or heal sick people by bringing back their "stolen" souls. Shaman is used in an Eskimo context in a number of English-language publications, academic and popular, generally in reference to the angakkuq among the Inuit. The alignalghi (IPA: [aˈliɣnalʁi]) of the Siberian Yupiks is translated as "shaman" in Russian and English literature.
Shamanism among the Eskimo peoples exhibits some characteristic features not universal in shamanism, such as soul dualism (a dualistic or pluralistic concept of the soul) in certain groups, and specific links between the living, the souls of hunted animals and dead people. The death of either a person or a game animal requires that certain activities, such as cutting and sewing, be avoided to prevent harming their souls. In Greenland, the transgression of this "death taboo" could turn the soul of the dead into a tupilaq, a restless ghost who scared game away. Animals were thought to flee hunters who violated taboos.
Unlike many Siberian traditions, in which spirits 'force' individuals to become shamans, most Eskimo shamans 'choose' this path. Even when someone receives a "calling", that individual may refuse it. The process of becoming an Eskimo shaman usually involves difficult learning and initiation rites, sometimes including a vision quest. Like the shamans of other cultures, some Eskimo shamans are believed to have special qualifications: They may have been an animal during a previous period and thus be able to use their valuable experience for the benefit of the community.
The initiation process varies from culture to culture. It may include:
- a specific kind of vision quest, such as among the Chugach.
- out-of-body experiences, such as seeing oneself as a skeleton, exemplified in Aua's (Iglulik) narration and a Baker Lake artwork
In several groups, shamans used a distinctly archaic version of the normal language interlaced with special metaphors and speech styles. For example, "the shadow is ripening" means the shaman is returning from his spiritual journey during a seance. Expert shamans could speak whole sentences differing from vernacular speech. The shamans among the Siberian Yupik peoples had a special language that used periphrastic substitutions for names of objects and phenomena; they used it for conversation with the [tuʁnɨʁaq] (spirits). These spirits were believed to have a special language with certain substitutes for ordinary words (“the one with a drum”: "shaman"; “that with tusks”: "walrus"). The Ungazighmiit (a Siberian Yupik people) had a special allegoric usage of some expressions.
|“||During their seances angakoks are not allowed to mention any objects or beings by their regular names, since it could bring disaster upon the ones mentioned.||”|
In this case, the special language was understood by the whole community, not restricted to the shaman or a few “experts”.
In some groups such variants were used when speaking with spirits invoked by the shaman and with unsocialised babies who grew into the human society through a special ritual performed by the mother. Some writers have treated both phenomena as a language for communication with "alien" beings (mothers sometimes used similar language in a socialization ritual, in which the newborn is regarded as a little "alien" — just like spirits or animal souls). The motif of a distinction between spirit and "real" human is present in a tale of the Ungazighmiit.
|“||The oldest man asked the girl: "What, are you not a spirit?" The girl answered: "I am not a spirit. Probably, are you spirits?" The oldest man said: "We are not spirits, [but] real human."||”|
Another interesting example of the special shamanic usage and its contribution to relexicalization:
|“||Relexicalization is commonly found in cases where native terms were restricted in use, as in old shamanic terms, or became obsolete as a result of modernization or technological changes. Thus, in West Greenlandic, an old shamanic term agiaq 'rubbing stone' has become 'violin.'||”|
Techniques and séances varied among cultures. Sleight-of-hand, ventriloquism might be used to impress the audience. In some cultures the shaman was pinioned before the séance, or the shaman might hide behind a curtain. Holding the séance in the dark with lamps extinguished was not obligatory, but the setting was familiar and widespread.
Some authors suggest that a shaman could be honest in his tricks, believing in the phenomena he himself mimicked, moreover, he could consciously cheat and honestly believe at the same time. Knud Rasmussen mentioned Arnaqaoq, a young Netsilik Inuk living in King William Island. He smeared himself with the blood of a seal or reindeer, telling people that he had a battle with spirits. Rasmussen conjectured that he could honestly believe in this spirit battle experience which he mimicked with smearing blood. The personal impression of Rasmussen about this man was that he believed in the forces and spirits. As Rasmussen asked him to draw some pictures about his experiences, even his visions about spirits, Arnaqaoq was first unwilling to do so (having fear of the spirits). Later he accepted the task, and he spent hours to re-experience his visions, sometimes so lucidly that he had to stop drawing when his whole body began to quiver.
The boundary between shaman and lay person was not always clearly demarcated. Non-shamans could experience hallucinations, and almost every Eskimo can report memories of ghosts, animals in human form, or little people living in remote places. Experiences such as hearing voices from ice or stones were discussed as readily as everyday hunting adventures. Neither were ecstatic experiences the monopoly of shamans (reverie, daydreaming, even trance were not unknown by non-shamans), and laypeople (non-shamans) experiencing them were welcome to report their experiences and interpretations. The ability to have and command helping spirits was characteristic of shamans, but laypeople could also profit from spirit powers through the use of amulets. In one extreme instance a Netsilingmiut child had 80 amulets for protection. Some laypeople had a greater capacity than others for close relationships with special beings of the belief system; these people were often apprentice shamans who failed to complete their learning process.
This applies for some Eskimo groups. Eskimo cultures are not alike, neither are their soul concepts.
In some of the cultures, shamans may fulfill multiple functions, including healing, curing infertile women, and securing the success of hunts. These seemingly unrelated functions can be understood through the soul concept which, with some variation, underlies them.
- It is held that the cause of sickness is soul theft, in which someone (perhaps an enemy shaman or a spirit) has stolen the soul of the sick person. It takes a shaman to retrieve the stolen soul. The person remains alive because people have multiple souls, so stealing the appropriate soul causes illness or a moribund state rather than immediate death. According to another variant among Ammassalik Eskimos in East Greenland, the joints of the body have their own small souls, the loss of which causes pain.
- The shaman provides assistance to the soul of an unborn child to allow its future mother to become pregnant.
- Success of hunts
- When game is scarce the shaman can visit (in a soul travel) a mythological being who protects all sea creatures (usually the Sea Woman), who keeps the souls of sea animals in her house or in a pot. If the shaman pleases her, she releases the animal souls thus ending the scarcity of game.
Soul dualism is held in several cultures (including Eskimo, Uralic, Turkic peoples). There are traces of beliefs that humans have more than one soul. The details have variations according to the culture. In several cases, a free soul and a body soul are distinguished: the free soul may depart body (during life), the body soul manages body functions. In several Eskimo cultures, it is the shaman's free soul that undertakes these spirit journeys (to places such as the land of dead, the home of the Sea Woman, or the moon) whilst his body remains alive. According to an explanation, this temporal absence of the shaman's free soul is tackled by a substitution: the shaman's body is guarded by one of his/her helping spirits during the spirit journey. A tale contains this motif while describing a spirit journey undertaken by the shaman's free soul and his helping spirits.
When a new shaman is first initiated, the initiator extracts the shaman's free soul and introduces it to the helping spirits so that they will listen when the new shaman invokes them; according to another explanation (that of the Iglulik shaman Aua) the souls of the vital organs of the apprentice must move into the helping spirits: the new shaman should not feel fear of the sight of his new helping spirits.
Although beliefs about unity between human and animal did not reach absolute interchangeability, several Eskimo peoples had sophisticated soul concepts (including variants of soul dualism) that created links among (living) human, game, dead ancestors. Besides such synchronical beliefs, there were diachronical notions of unity between human and animal: imaginations about an ancient time when the animal could take on human form at will — it simply raised its forearm or wing to its face and lifted it aside at the muzzle or beak, like a mask. Rituals could preserve this ancient unity: the masked person represents the animal and, as he/she lifts the mask, the human existence of that animal appears. Masks among Eskimo peoples could serve several functions. There were also transformation masks reflecting the mentioned unity between human and animal.
In some groups, babies were named after deceased relatives. This might be supported by the belief that the child's developing, weak soul must be "supported" by a name-soul: invoking the departed name-soul which will then accompany and guide the child until adolescence. This concept of inheriting name-souls amounts to a sort of reincarnation among some groups, such as the Caribou Eskimos.
In a tale of the Ungazighmiit, an old woman expresses her desire to become ill, die and then "come" as a boy, a hunter. After specific preparations following her death, a newborn baby will be named after her. Similarly to several other Eskimo cultures, the name-giving of a newborn baby among Siberian Yupik meant that a deceased person was affected, a certain rebirth was believed. Even before the birth of the baby, careful investigations took place: dreams and events were analyzed. After the birth, the baby's physical traits were compared to those of the deceased person. The name was important: if the baby died, it was thought that he/she has not given the "right" name. In case of sickness, it was hoped that giving additional names could result in healing.
Secrecy (or novelty) and the neutralizing effect of publicity
It was believed in several contexts that secrecy or privacy may be needed for an act or an object (either beneficial or harmful, intended or incidental) to be effective and that publicity may neutralize its effects.
- Magic formulae usually required secrecy and could lose their power if they became known by other people than their owners. For example a Chugach man experienced a sea otter swimming around, singing a song, a magic formula. He knew it is a help in hunting, whose efficiency will be lost for him if anybody else learns it.
- Deliberately harmful magical acts (ilisiinneq) had to be done in secrecy.
- If the victim of another detrimental magical act (tupilaq-making) had enough magical power (for example through amulets) to notice the act and "rebound" it back to the perpetrator, the endangered person could escape retribution only by public confession of his planned (and failed) sorcery.
- a rite of passage celebrating the first major hunting success of a boy often contained a "partaking" element: the whole community cut the dead animal or took part in its consumption. The function of this rite was to establish a positive relationship between the young man and the game animal; because the killed animal could bring danger to the hunter, this ritual lessened the danger by sharing the responsibility.
Some of the shaman's functions can be understood in the light of this notion of secrecy versus publicity. The cause of illness was usually believed to be soul theft or a breach of some taboo (such as miscarriage). Public confession (led by the shaman during a public seance) could bring relief to the patient. Similar public rituals were used in the cases of taboo breaches that endangered the whole community (bringing the wrath of mythical beings causing calamities).
In some instances, the efficiency of magical formulae could depend on their novelty. A creation myth attributes such power to newly created words, that they became instantly true by their mere utterance. Also in shamanic practice, too much use of the same formulae could result in losing their power. According to a record, a man was forced to use all his magic formulae in an extremely dangerous situation, and this resulted in losing all his conjurer capabilities. As reported from the Little Diomede Island, new songs were needed regularly for the ceremonial held to please the soul of the whale, because "the spirits were to be summoned with fresh words, worn-out songs could never be used...".
Shamanism in Eskimo groups
According to Aua (an informant and friend of the anthropologist Rasmussen), one of the shaman's tasks among the Iglulik Inuit is to help the community in times when marine animals, which are kept by the Sea Woman (Takanaluk-arnaluk) in a pit in her house, are scarce. If taboo breaches that displease her lead to the failure of sea hunts, the shaman must visit her. Several barriers must be surmounted (such as a wall or a dog) and in some instances even the Sea Woman herself must be fought. If the shaman succeeds in appeasing her the animals will be released as normal.
The Iglulik variant of a myth explaining the Sea Woman’s origins involves a girl and her father. The girl did not want to marry. However, a bird managed to trick her into marriage and took her to an island. The girl's father managed to rescue his daughter, but the bird created a storm that threatened to sink their boat. Out of fear, the father threw his daughter into the ocean and cut her fingers as she tried to climb back into the boat. The cut joints became sea mammals and the girl became a ruler of marine animals, living under the sea. Later on her remorseful father joined her.
This local variant differs from several others, like that of the Netsiliks, which is about an orphan girl mistreated by her community.
Inuit at Amitsoq Lake
For the Inuit at Amitsoq Lake (a rich fishing ground) sewing of many items was seasonally prohibited. Boot soles, for example, could only be sewn far away from settlements in designated places. Children at Amitsoq had a game called tunangusartut in which they imitated the adults behavior towards the spirits, including shamanizing, even reciting the same verbal formulae as shamans. This game was not considered offensive because a "spirit can understand the joke."
The cosmos of many other Eskimo cultures include protective guardian powers, but for the Netsilik the general hardship of life resulted in the extensive use of such measures, and even dogs could have amulets. Unlike the Igluliks, the Netsilik used a large number of amulets. In one recorded instance, a young boy had eighty amulets, so many that he could hardly play. In addition one man had seventeen names taken from his ancestors that were intended to protect him.
The Sea Woman was known as Nuliayuk "the lubricous one". If the people breached certain taboos, she would hold the marine animals in the tank of her lamp. When this happened the shaman had to visit her to beg for game. The Netsilik myth concerning her origin stated that she was an orphan girl who had been mistreated by her community.
Another cosmic being known as Moon Man was thought to be friendly towards people and their souls as they arrive in celestial places. This belief differs from that of the Greenland Eskimos, where the Moon’s anger was feared as a consequence of some taboo breaches.
Sila was a sophisticated concept among Eskimo cultures (where its manifestation varied). Often associated with weather, it was conceived of as a power contained in people. Among the Netsilik, Sila was imagined as male. The Netsilik (and Copper Inuit) held that Sila originated as a giant baby whose parents were killed in combat between giants.
"Caribou Eskimos" (Caribou Inuit) is a collective name for several groups of inland Eskimos (the Krenermiut, Aonarktormiut, Harvaktormiut, Padlermiut and Ahearmiut) living in an area bordered by the tree line and the west shore of Hudson Bay. They do not form a political unit and contacts between the groups are loose, but they share an inland lifestyle and exhibit some cultural unity. In the recent past, the Padlermiuts did have contact with the sea where they took part in seal hunts.
The Caribou had a dualistic concept of the soul. The soul associated with respiration was called umaffia (place of life) and the personal soul of a child was called tarneq (corresponding to the nappan of the Copper Eskimos). The tarneq was considered so weak that it needed the guardianship of a name-soul of a dead relative. The presence of the ancestor in the body of the child was felt to contribute to a more gentle behavior, especially among boys. This belief amounted to a form of reincarnation.
Because of their inland lifestyle, the Caribou had no belief concerning a Sea Woman. Other cosmic beings, variously named Sila or Pinga, take her place, controlling caribou instead of marine animals. Some groups made a distinction between the two figures, while others considered them the same. Sacrificial offerings to them could promote luck in hunting.
Caribou shamans performed fortune-telling through qilaneq, a technique of asking a qila (spirit). The shaman placed his glove on the ground, and raised his staff and belt over it. The qila then entered the glove and drew the staff to itself. Qilaneq was practiced among several other Eskimo groups, where it was used to receive "yes" or "no" answers to questions.
As mentioned, shamanhood among Eskimo peoples was a diverse phenomenon, just like the Eskimo cultures themselves. Similar remarks apply for other beliefs: term silap inua / sila, hillap inua / hilla (among Inuit), ellam yua / ella (among Yup'ik) was used with some diversity among the groups. In many instances it refers “outer space”, “intellect”, “weather”, “sky”, “universe”: there may be some correspondence with the presocratic concept of logos. In some other groups, this concept was more personified ([sl̥am juɣwa] among Siberian Yupik).
Among Copper Inuit, this “Wind Indweller” concept has some relatedness to their shamanhood: shamans were believed to obtain their power from this indweller, moreover, even their helping spirits were termed as silap inue.
Like the Netsiliks, the Yupik practised tattooing. Another feature of theirs that is observable among several Eskimo groups: they used a special shamanic language (for talking to spirits, called [tuʁnɨʁaq]). These spirits were believed to have a special language with certain substitutes for ordinary words (“the one with a drum”: shaman, “that with tusks”: walrus).
The Siberian Yupiks had shamans. Compared to the variants found among Eskimo groups of America, shamanism among Siberian Yupiks stressed more the importance of maintaining good relationship with sea animals. The Ungazighmiit (in Cyrillic transliteration: “уңазиӷмӣт”, IPA: [uŋaʑiʁmiːt]), speaking the largest of the Siberian Yupik language variants, called a shaman alignalghi (in Cyrillic transliteration: “алигналӷи”, [aˈliɣnalʁi]).
The alignalghi received presents for the shamanizing. It can be noted that there were many words for "presents" in the language spoken by Ungazighmiit, depending on the nature and occasion (such as a marriage). These included such fine distinctions as "thing, given to someone who has none", "thing, given, not begged for", "thing, given to someone as to anybody else" and "thing, given for exchange". Among these many kinds of presents, the one given to the shaman was called [aˈkiliːɕaq].
The Chugach people live on the southern-most coasts of Alaska. Birket-Smith conducted fieldwork among them in the 1950s, when shamanism was already extinct. As among other Eskimo groups, Chugach apprentice shamans were not forced to become shamans by the spirits. They instead deliberately visited lonely places and walked for many days as part of a vision quest that resulted in the visitation of a spirit. The apprentice passed out, and the spirit took him or her to another place (like the mountains or the depths of the sea). Whilst there, the spirit instructed the apprentice in their calling, such as teaching them the shaman’s song.
Sirenik Eskimos formerly spoke with a very peculiar Eskimo language in Siberia, before they underwent a language shift rendering it extinct. The peculiarities of this Sireniki idiom among Eskimo languages amount to the extent that it is proposed by some to classify it as a standalone third branch of Eskimo languages (along with Inuit and Yupik). The total language death of this peculiar remnant means that now the cultural identity of Sireniki Eskimos is maintained through other aspects: slight dialectical difference in the adopted Siberian Yupik language; sense of place, including appreciation of the ancient age of their settlement Sireniki.
At one time, shamanism was prohibited by authorities, still, some knowledge about shamanistic practices survived. The last shaman in Sireniki died a decade before 2000. Since then there has been no shaman in the village. Earlier in the 20th century, shamanistic practices could be observed by scholars in Sireniki and a folklore (tale) text mentions a feast that could possibly include shamanistic features.
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- Freuchen, Peter (1961). Book of the Eskimos. Cleveland • New York: The World Publishing Company.
- Gabus, Jean (1944). Vie et coutumes des Esquimaux Caribous (in French). Libraire Payot Lausanne.
- Gabus, Jean (1970). A karibu eszkimók (in Hungarian). Budapest: Gondolat Kiadó. Translation of Gabus 1944.
- Hoppál, Mihály (1975). "Az uráli népek hiedelemvilága és a samanizmus". In Hajdú, Péter. Uráli népek. Nyelvrokonaink kultúrája és hagyományai (in Hungarian). Budapest: Corvina Kiadó. pp. 211–233. ISBN 963-13-0900-2. The title means: “Uralic peoples. Culture and traditions of our linguistic relatives”; the chapter means “The belief system of Uralic peoples and the shamanism”.
- Hoppál, Mihály (2005). Sámánok Eurázsiában (in Hungarian). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. ISBN 963-05-8295-3. (The title means "Shamans in Eurasia." The book is written in Hungarian, and it is also published in German, Estonian and Finnish). Site of publisher with short description on the book (in Hungarian)
- Hoppál, Mihály (2007). "Eco-Animism of Siberian Shamanhood". Shamans and Traditions (Vol 13). Bibliotheca Shamanistica. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. pp. 17–26. ISBN 978-963-05-8521-7.
- Kerttula, Anna M. (2000). Antler on the sea: the Yup'ik and Chukchi of the Russian Far East. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
- Kleivan, Inge; B. Sonne (1985). Eskimos: Greenland and Canada. Iconography of religions, section VIII, "Arctic Peoples", fascicle 2. Leiden, The Netherlands: Institute of Religious Iconography • State University Groningen. E.J. Brill. ISBN 90-04-07160-1.
- Mauss, Marcel (1979) [c1950]. Seasonal variations of the Eskimo: a study in social morphology. in collab. with Henri Beuchat; translated, with a foreword, by James J. Fox. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. ISBN 0-415-33035-1.
- Menovščikov, G. A. (Г. А. Меновщиков) (1968). "Popular Conceptions, Religious Beliefs and Rites of the Asiatic Eskimoes". In Diószegi, Vilmos. Popular beliefs and folklore tradition in Siberia. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.
- Merkur, Daniel (1985). Becoming Half Hidden: Shamanism and Initiation among the Inuit. Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis • Stockholm Studies in Comparative Religion. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell. ISBN 91-22-00752-0.
- Merkur, Daniel (1985c). "The Ecstasies of Inuit Laity". Becoming Half Hidden: Shamanism and Initiation among the Inuit. Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis • Stockholm Studies in Comparative Religion. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell. pp. 41–69. ISBN 91-22-00752-0.
- Mousalimas, S. A. (1997). "Editor's Introduction". Arctic Ecology and Identity. ISTOR Books 8. Budapest • Los Angeles: Akadémiai Kiadó • International Society for Trans-Oceanic Research. pp. 1–30. ISBN 963-05-6629-X.
- Nuttall, Mark (1997). "Nation-building and Local Identity in Greenland: Resources and the Environment in a Changing North". In S. A. Mousalimas. Arctic Ecology and Identity. ISTOR Books 8. Budapest • Los Angeles: Akadémiai Kiadó • International Society for Trans-Oceanic Research. pp. 69–83. ISBN 963-05-6629-X.
- Oosten, Jarich G. (1997). "Cosmological Cycles and the Constituents of the Person". In S. A. Mousalimas. Arctic Ecology and Identity. ISTOR Books 8. Budapest • Los Angeles: Akadémiai Kiadó • International Society for Trans-Oceanic Research. pp. 85–101. ISBN 963-05-6629-X.
- Rasmussen, Knud (1926). Thulefahrt. Frankfurt am Main: Frankurter Societăts-Druckerei.
- Rasmussen, Knud (1965). Thulei utazás. Világjárók (in Hungarian). transl. Detre Zsuzsa. Budapest: Gondolat. Hungarian translation of Rasmussen 1926.
- Saladin d'Anglure, Bernard (1990). "Brother-Moon (Taqqiq), Sister-Sun (Siqiniq) and the Intelligence of the World (Sila) - Inuit Cosmology, Arctic Cosmography and Shamanistic Space-Time". Études Inuit Studies (in French, abstract also in English) 14 (1–2).
- Thomas, Lesley (2008). "Visions of the End of Days. Eskimo Shamanism in Northwest Alaska" (PDF). Sacred Hoop Magazine (59). ISSN 1364-2219.
- Vitebsky, Piers (1995). The Shaman (Living Wisdom). Duncan Baird.
- Vitebsky, Piers (1996). A sámán. Bölcsesség • hit • mítosz (in Hungarian). Budapest: Magyar Könyvklub • Helikon Kiadó. ISBN 963-208-361-X. Translation of Vitebsky 1995
- Vitebsky, Piers (2001). The Shaman: Voyages of the Soul - Trance, Ecstasy and Healing from Siberia to the Amazon. Duncan Baird. ISBN 1-903296-18-8.
- Voigt, Miklós (2000). Világnak kezdetétől fogva. Történeti folklorisztikai tanulmányok (in Hungarian). Budapest: Universitas Könyvkiadó. ISBN 963-9104-39-6. In it, on pp 41–45: Sámán — a szó és értelme (The etymology and meaning of word shaman).
- York, Geoffrey (1999). "They battle the bottle and work for walrus. Siberia's beleaguered Inuit rely on old skills to help them survive". Johnson's Russia List. Note that term “Inuit” is used here in an extended sense.
- Меновщиков, Г. А. (1964). Язык сиреникских эскимосов. Фонетика, очерк морфологии, тексты и словарь. Москва • Ленинград,: Академия Наук СССР. Институт языкознания. The transliteration of author's name, and the rendering of title in English: Menovshchikov, G. A. (1964). Language of Sireniki Eskimos. Phonetics, morphology, texts and vocabulary. Moscow • Leningrad: Academy of Sciences of the USSR.
- Рубцова, Е. С. (1954). Материалы по языку и фольклору эскимосов (чаплинский диалект). Москва • Ленинград: Академия Наук СССР. Rendering in English: Rubcova, E. S. (1954). Materials on the Language and Folklore of the Eskimoes (Vol. I, Chaplino Dialect). Moscow • Leningrad: Academy of Sciences of the USSR.
Books and articles
- Bogoraz, Waldemar (1913). The Eskimo of Siberia (pdf). Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History. Leiden • New York: E. J. Brill ltd • G. E. Stechert & co. Unabridged original. Tales rendered in English; the song texts both in English and in original. Large PDF file requiring considerable computation resources.
- Bogoraz, Waldemar (1913). The Eskimo of Siberia. Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History. Leiden • New York: E. J. Brill ltd • G. E. Stechert & co. HTML format, the original language versions of the song texts are omitted.
- "Духовная культура (Spiritual culture)". Eskimos. Support for Siberian Indigenous Peoples Rights (Поддержка прав коренных народов Сибири).
- Rasmussen, Knud (collected) (1921). Eskimo Folk-Tales (pdf). edited and rendered into English by W. Worster, with illustrations by native Eskimo artists. London • Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
- Rasmussen, Knud (1927). Across Arctic America. New York • London: G.P. Putnams sons.
- Rink, Henry (1875). Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo (with a Sketch of their Habits, Religion, Language and other Peculiarities). London. Reduced to HTML by Christopher M. Weimer, April 2003.
- Rubtsova, Ekaterina Semenovna. Yupik Eskimo Text from the 1940s. (pdf). Collection of 27 texts collected by Rubtsova in 1940-1941. Translated into English and edited by Vakhtin. (The English version is the last file at the bottom of the page.) Downloadable from UAF's site licenced under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
- Thomas, Lesley (2008). "Visions of the End of Days. Eskimo Shamanism in Northwest Alaska" (PDF). Sacred Hoop Magazine (59). ISSN 1364-2219.
- Поселок Унгазик (Чаплино) (in Russian). Музея антропологии и этнографии им. Петра Великого (Кунсткамера) Российской академии наук. Rendering in English: Ungaziq settlement, Kunstkamera, Russian Academy of Sciences. Old photos about former life of a Siberian Yupik settlement, including those of a shaman, performing his séance. Larger images about it:
- Eliot Waldman. Inuit Shaman (streamed video). Native Art Traders. "Conversation of human to animal transformations in Inuit art. Also, the role of the Shaman in Inuit life."
- (Russian) Животные и отражение их прихода к человеку в самых разных текстах. 2002-12-03. Эхо Москвы. Арсенал. A radio interview with Russian scientists about man and animal, examples taken especially from Asian Eskimos.