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Teaching the Explorers: Some Inuit Contributions to Arctic Discoveries

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In 1860, Charles Francis Hall sailed north in an attempt to reach King William Island in a bold attempt to solve the mystery of the Franklin expedition. During this expedition, and for most of his remaining life, Hall was accompanied by Tookoolito ("Hannah") and her husband Ebierbing ("Joe"). After spending two years on Baffin Island, Hall and his Inuit companions returned to the United States, where Hall set out to raise funds for a second expedition in search of the Franklin expedition. After five long years searching for survivors from, or information about the Franklin expedition, a frustrated Hall returned to the States in August 1869, again accompanied by Tookoolito and Ebierbing. And as before, the Inuit couple served as goodwill ambassadors and entertained thousands, including the President and Vice-President of the United States and several members of Congress. This publicity campaign was so successful that in July 1871, the Polaris sailed in an effort to reach the North Pole by sea. On November 8 of that year,Hall died under mysterious circumstances. This did not end the contributions of Tookoolito and Ebierbing to Arctic exploration, as they helped a party of 19 who had become separated from the Polaris survive for six wintry months.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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