The Dispersal of the 1918 Influenza Virus on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska: An Ethnohistoric Reconstruction
Matt L. Ganley
Bering Straits Foundation, Nome. and Anthropology Program. University of Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
Abstract: This paper considers the spread of the 19 l 8 influenza virus as it occurred among Inupiat communities on Alaska’s Seward Peninsula. Documented historical sources concerning the epidemic among the Native communities are scarce and contain limited information. In contrast. oral histories of the event provide not only information about community mortality rates. but they also corroborate the few written documents that discuss the epidemic. Additionally. it has been found that the dispersal of the virus on the peninsula can only be accurately reconstructed with the aid of oral testimony. Data useful to both anthropologists and epidemiologists can be derived from this approach to historical analysis.
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