Encounters on the Passage: Inuit Meet the Explorers
Inuit elders who grew up in camps on the shores of Frobisher Bay can tell you what happened when Martin Frobisher arrived with his vessel in 1576: "He fired two warning shots into the air. So right away there were some grievances." Frobisher's shots were the opening salvos in the search for the Northwest Passage, a search that lasted for more than four hundred years and riveted the Western world, particularly in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. In Encounters on the Passage, present day Inuit tell the stories that have been passed down from their ancestors of the first encounters with European explorers.
In many of these stories the old cosmogony is still in place, with shamans playing starring roles opposite "the strangers intruding on the Inuit lands." Dorothy Harley Eber presents stories told to her about the expeditions of Sir Edward Parry, Sir John Ross, Sir John Franklin, and the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, and sets them squarely in historical context. In the case of the disasterous Franklin expedition, new information opens up another fascinating chapter on the Franklin tragedy. Collected over twelve years on visits to communities in Nunavut, these remarkable stories of expeditionary forces and their dealings with native peoples will be new and exciting reading for those interested in the search for the Northwest Passage, the Franklin tragedy, and traditions of oral history.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 196 pages
- Illustrations: 48
- Dimensions: 6.1in x 0.2in x 9.0in
'Encounters on the Passage is alive with suggestions for enthusiast still seeking Franklin's grave or his lost record books or his sunken ships. But what stand[s] out is how the Inuit experienced those crazy incursions. Eber's stories bring home the true weirdness of these aliens and their great vessels, suddenly planting themselves amidst the people ... the richest material in this book ... is not what it says about a few doomed intruders from the south, but the role it plays in storing and preserving Inuit storytelling.'
Christopher Moore, The Beaver magazine, November 2008
Encounters on the Passage is a very worthy contribution to the store of preserved Inuit oral traditions. It serves as a useful reference and introduction to the stories relating to explorers that are otherwise scattered throughout the literature on British Arctic Exploration, and sets them in clear context.
David C. Woodman, The Arctic Book Review
'Encounters on the Passage is an extraordinary and important work. This is the first book to present the surviving Inuit oral traditions and stories about early explorers from the times of Sir John Franklin and Roald Amundsen's arctic voyages. Dorothy Harley Eber's interviews with Inuit elders offer not only echoes of older stories, but also new stories which have not been heard or collected until now. Complete with richly illustrative visual materials, Encounters on the Passage fascinatingly shows how Inuit have represented explorers and offers a long-overdue alternative to the all-too-familiar explorers' representations of Inuit.'
Russell Potter, Department of English, Rhode Island College
Author InformationDorothy Harley Eber is an author based in Montreal who has written numerous books about the Inuit.
Table of contents
Map and Chronology
Prologue: Opening Salvos
Chapter 1 Into the Arctic Archipelago: Edward Parry at Igloolik and the Shaman's Curse
Chapter 2 John Ross at Kablunaaqhiuvik - "the place for meeting White People"
Chapter 3 The Franklin Era: Burial of a Great White Shaman
Chapter 4 The Death March: "They were seen carrying Human Meat."
Chapter 5 New Franklin Stories: The Ship at Imnguyaaluk
Chapter 6 A Northwest Passage on Foot - and Lost Opportunity
Chapter 7 Norwegian Victory: Amusi and the Prize
Chapter 8 Modern Times
Subjects and Courses