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Tears, gratitude, respect for Dr. Jean Briggs

rest in peace, my mentor and fan

Something prompted me this morning to look up the eminent anthropologist Dr. Jean Briggs, and I found she had died a few days ago. I am happy to say she lived well and healthily until 87, still getting water from the river, still watching ravens, still writing, still researching, still teaching. She was a profound influence in my early years and helped me - through her book Never in Anger - to understand more and assimilate better into the traditional Inupiaq village I lived in, and my many relatives and friends from Inupiaq and Yup'ik cultures. She read Flight of the Goose as my first reader and became a fan, greatly encouraging me to proceed with publication. Without her endorsement many doors would have remained solidly closed against me and my novel.

Thank you, Jean, and may your soul fly in peace to the Otherworld.

Here is a wonderful special on her life and works in the Globe and Mail.

The endorsement she wrote for Flight of the Goose for the back cover:

“The story took my breath away...I wept my way through it, identifying profoundly with both protagonists...All of the characters are thoroughly believable. The author has a fine grasp of the complexity of human relations and culture in such a village...She also writes beautifully. I was caught up from the first page... A remarkable book altogether”.

~Jean L. Briggs, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, Memorial University of Newfoundland and author of Never in Anger.: A Portrait Of An Eskimo Family

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