So, How Long Have You Been Native?

FAIRBANKS — Though described by the author as an “auto-ethnography,” “So, How Long Have You Been Native?” would perhaps better be called an ethnographic memoir. It follows Alexis C. Bunten’s first-hand experience working for Tribal Tours — a cultural tourism business owned and operated by the Sitka Tribe of Alaska — as interpreted through the anthropologic study of cultural tourism.

A strictly academic ethnography this is not, and it’s all the better for it. Rather than droll analysis full of citations and statistics, the information is dispersed through a companionable memoir of the summer tourist season, with each chapter representing a month which is then divided into weeks, each of which reflect on a different moment or kind of experience on the job.