Dawn in Arctic Alaska by Diamond Jenness

By Diamond Jenness

"The Karluk had disappeared. even if the vessel had freed itself from the ice and steamed eastward, or even if, nonetheless imprisoned, it were carried via the ice westward, lets now not comprehend. at the least it used to be long past, leaving our looking celebration of six males marooned on a sandy islet surrounded by means of skinny ice and open water. The wind ultimately died away, within the calm air the water swiftly iced over another time, and on September 30 we crossed with our sleds to the mainland." In 1913 a tender ethnologist from New Zealand boarded a boat for the Arctic, starting a private trip that used to be to make Diamond Jenness one of many 20th century's finest gurus on Alaskan Eskimos. Jenness were requested to affix the Stefansson day trip, and his professional tasks have been to gather ethnographic info at the Eskimos—their tradition, know-how, faith, and social association. His account of the excursion was once released as humans of the Twilight in 1928, yet Jenness additionally saved a diary of his 3 years one of the Eskimos. He used to be finally persuaded to submit it as sunrise in Arctic Alaska. Predating the style of non-public ethnographies that has develop into so well known and critical this day, Jenness's stories mixture his willing observations of the Arctic and its individuals with his personal reflections and sensory stories. He expresses nice adimiration for the customs and personality of the Eskimos and nice remorse and unhappiness over the destruction in their lifeway via touch with white males.

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With two Eskimos and two dog teams, therefore, Wilkins and I started out on October 27 to retrace our steps eastward. 27 D U R I N G the fifteen days that we had lingered at Barrow the coast to the eastward had become a veritable hive of activity, for the trapping season was less than three weeks away and it behoved every man to pre-empt a trapping ground and set his traps in position before the opening day. Most of the Eskimos simply resumed possession of the cabins they had built or occupied the winter before; but there were a few who, dissatisfied with their luck the previous season, wanted to try out new districts and new neighbors, even if it involved the building of new homes.

He arrived at last on November 21, along with McConnell and a fifteen-year-old half-breed, Alfred ("Brick") Hobson, the son of Brower's cook. In a midnight discussion immediately following his arrival Stefansson, told me that he intended to push on without delay in order to join the rest of our expedition in Camden Bay, but that I was to stay behind with Arksiatark's family for at least part of the winter, learning the Eskimo language and picking up whatever information I could on Eskimo customs and folklore.

Arksiatark had never traveled even the short distance to Barrow; and her husband had visited that village only once in his forty or fifty years. Neither had ever seen the inside of a church or heard a missionary's sermon. They knew no more of Christianity than 46 DAWN IN ARCTIC ALASKA the half-dozen hymns and prayers that had filtered through to them from their neighbors, together with a prohibition against performing any kind of work on Sundays, even sewing a patch on a worn mitten. It was therefore only natural that they should interpret these outward expressions of Christianity in the light of their earlier beliefs, and should look upon the prayers and hymns and prohibitions of the immigrant religion as in no way different from the incantations and taboos that had been handed down to them from their forefathers, or enjoined by some oldtime medicine man.

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