“Merculieff tells readers that to survive spiritually in the physical world, one must learn to listen to the heart without any mental interference. This is a powerful tale about growing into a wisdom that is one’s birthright. It is a call to return to a life where the heart tells the mind what to do.”
—Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight
Ilarion Mercuieff weaves the remarkable strands of his life and culture into a fascinating account that begins with his traditional Unangan (Aleut) upbringing on a remote island in the Bering Sea, through his immersion in both the Russian Orthodox Church and his tribe’s holistic spiritual beliefs.
Tracing the extraodinary history of his ancestors,—who mummified their dead in
a way very similar to the Egyptians, constructed one of the most sophisticated high seas kayaks in the world, and densely populated shorelines in North America for ten thousand years—Merculieff describes the rich traditions of spirituality, art, dance, music, storytelling, science, and technology that enabled them to survive their harsh conditions. The Unangan people of the Aleutian Islands faced genocide, disease, and starvation at the hands of Russian fur traders and later slavery and internment during WWII by the U.S. government.
Part history and part urgent call-to-action, Wisdom Keeper embodies the message of Merculieff ’s work of the last thirty years, bridging Western science with Indigenous traditional knowledge and wisdom. His efforts serve as a powerful reminder that in order to face our current crises—climate change, failing public institutions, war—we must begin by restoring balance to our relationship with ourselves, each other, and our world.
Wisdom Keeper: One Man’s Journey to Honor the Untold History of the Unangan People by Ilarion Merculieff | Foreword by Nina Simons
On sale: July 19, 2016 | 228 pp | 6” x 9” | 978-1-62317-049-3 | $14.95 US/$19.50 CAN PUBLICITY CONTACT: Julia Kent
510-549-4270 x 45 | firstname.lastname@example.org
North Atlantic Books is distributed by Penguin Random House