Koviashuvik: Making a Home in the Brooks Range

Sam Wright

On a slope above a mountain lake in Alaska’s Brooks Range, Sam and Billie Wright built a twelve-by-twelve-foot log cabin with hand tools and named it Koviashuvik—an Eskimo word meaning “living in the present moment with quiet joy and happiness.” Sam’s account of the twenty years they spent there is both a tale of wilderness survival and an inspiring meditation on the natural world and humanity’s relationship to it.

status Copy #1 (7101): in
genre Field Guide » Travel and Nomadism
publisher University of Arizona Press
publish date 1988
popularity checked out 1 time(s)


  • By Bill Svoboda -

    “All Eskimo words are in effect forms of the verb to be which itself is lacking in Eskimo….the words for snow or anything else are unlimited because snow never exists in itself but takes form from the action in which it participates. Snow is either falling, blowing, drifting, mixed with water, on clothes, being snowshoed upon, hard or soft, with distinctions only experienced in a meaningful context….Everything is in context. Including the individual, everything is in context. There is nothing passive in relationship with the world because it is the person who reveals form. With an individual person creation becomes.”
    I found the last part of Koviashuvik to be especially good-as well as the Introduction. I was less impressed by the “Kurt Vonnegut Jr. style”-something closer to Eskimo (mostly verbs & adverbs) would have been much more poetic. Still it’s a very good book. Sam Wright has written a number of other books on a variety of topics-perhaps we should own more of them?

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