Stefansson-Anderson expedition 1908-1912

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May 1. Puiplirmiut Village east of Lambert Island. Saw from camp an Eskimo village a mile or so east of Lambert Island. Started at 8 P. M., got there at 10:30, slow going account dogs sweating, heavy load (took part of two deer killed) and soft snow, softened by thaw today. Camp consists of twelve snowhouses. People mostly Puiplirmiut, though many others here too. Kamin˝ok and his wife Miyuk who are really Akuliakattagmiut are here now and were with Haneragmiut when we were there last May. Uluxarak (Akuliakattagmiut) is here too. Huprok and his brother Konirk (Kogluktogmiut) also here, and their parents. Others not seen before. None of these hungry last winter. Are killing ugrug now, got two today. Are not killing any caribou "because we have no guns." All, or most, are going to the ship and to Bear Lake. None here have seen white men except those who have seen us. (Huprok's and Uluxrak's families now here were at the ship last fall, however.) A good deal more prying and unpleasant forwardness than among the same people last spring.

May 2. Near Lambert Island. Food. Deer and seal meat eaten at same meal and cooked in same pots, did not see both cooked together though. I asked them if they all did this, they said they knew it wasn't really right to cook both in same pot, but they always did it, never, however, without changing the strings by which the cooking pot is hung over the lamp. Deer and seal fat and meat raw and cooked eaten in almost or quite all the possible mathematical combinations.

Snowhouses. Village near Lambert Island was all snowhouses (eight) when we arrived last night, by three P. M. today five of eight houses had skin roofs. It was a very warm day. This is almost three weeks earlier than at Cape Bexley last year and about ten days or two weeks later than at mouth of Kugaryuak.

Summer Hunting Grounds. Say Puiplirmiut and Kanhiryuarmiut usually meet every summer where they hunt, probably north of Read Island. Say they go in three days from sea to sea (from near Read Island to Prince Albert Island) when they go to trade with Kanhiryuarmiut in winter. Say Kanhiryuarmiut are very timid, afraid of strangers.

Drying Frame. Uluxsrak had drying frame over lamp with hoop of whalebone. Did not seem to know where bone was picked up, had bought frame from another man.

Copper Knives. Copper knife bought of Huprok (only one in camp) has history of at least four previous owners, all of them Puiplirmiut now dead.

May 3. Deserted Village. Started 1:35 P. M. and at 2:30 arrived at deserted village on the trail of ten houses, i. e. Huprok's party now in nine houses were then in ten, or else someone has since left the party. People had evidently been here several days. Trail fresh to here, but beyond this hard to follow; only one sled track discernible most of time, though it occasionally coincided with an older trail of many sleds, that could now and then be faintly made out. At 5 P. M. arrived at old deserted village and simultaneously saw quarter mile south of it a small village of tents. Found here Apatok's family (10 persons), four other houses.

May 3. Feathered Arrows. Saw wing of a black eagle found frozen on ice last fall, feathers intended for arrows.

May 4. The teeth of an old woman here, Haviuyak, are worn even with the gums in both jaws and as far back as the eye teeth, molars slightly less worn. Not a single tooth seems to have fallen out. Many younger Eskimo, however, have lost several teeth.

The black eagle of which we were shown a wing, is known here as Kopanakpűk.

May 5. B. and all the men but Takuerkinna hunted seals due south from camp. The hunting ground was perhaps three or four miles west of the end of Lambert Island and a little south of it. There were "many ugrug but more seals" B. says. He had two ugrug of which one slid into the water and sank, though dead. One of the natives crawled up on a seal and stabbed at him, but got blood only (Kullark). The ice was so thin it could be felt heaving under one's weight "and in some places there was no ice probably" they say. Even when crawling flat-bellied towards seals the hunters keep stabbing their knives through the ice to test it. On the sealing ground the ice is in few places over two inches thick and mostly not over an inch. B.'s blunt "skinning knife" went through at every stab. Accidents are said never to happen to men or sleds "for we know where it is safe to go."

B. said also he never saw so many ugrug in one locality as here last summer. It would evidently be a great hunting place with boats in fall and nets in all seasons. The ice was everywhere smooth where the seals were. The seal holes were mostly "as big as tents and some oblong and much bigger than any tent." The current could be heard in most places under the ice and in the holes it could be seen running rapidly west. So far as we can learn it always runs west, though people seem to have paid no particular attention to it, and are therefore not to be relied on.

Ceremonial Gift of Caribou Meat to Dogs. A ceremonial gift of caribou meat to their dogs was made by Apatok's family the evening we came here. We had given each family about five pounds of meat and this was at once set to cook. I was eating with Apatok. When we were half through he asked his wife, "Have the dogs had any caribou meat yet?" "No. What can I be thinking about," said his wife, cut off a piece for each dog about the size of a pea and gave it to them. I take it that this was a ceremony, the dogs look well fed. They have plenty of seal meat on hand, and the pieces of caribou were so small anyway that they were a bare taste.

Some dogs here are tied, some have one leg tied up to the neck, but most are loose.

Food. Deer meat was here cooked in the seal pots without even changing the strings they are hung up by, as do the Kogluktogmiut (at least Huprok's family), nor was any ceremony applied so far as I know, not even washing the pots between.

Boots. Water boots, summer style, are worn by some, ordinary winter boots by others, and by a few sealskin leggings, hair out, with slipper made in the manner of the soles of water boots.

May 6. Near Victoria Island. People by Shore of Victoria Island. Started 1:35 P. M. and took course generally true north. At 5 P. M. spied people by shore of Victoria Island ahead of us and got to camp of three houses at 5:35 P. M. Distance fifteen miles. People hunting seals only though camp by shore, now three days old. They have had hard luck and have only a day's supply of meat ahead. They are nevertheless very generous with the little they have, more modest and pleasant people than we have before seen. None of them have been to the ship, which explains much. They are in conduct very like the Akuliakattagmiut last year. Camp is at mouth of Kogluktok River which "used to be a good fishing place but has ceased to have many fish. There are ugrug in its mouth though."

Kogluktok River. Knowledge of Ships and White People. Some of people spend all summer in sight of the sea, none however saw "Teddy Bear" nor have they seen any other ship either winter or summer, or any white men at any time, nor have their ancestors.

Food. Customs in general do not seem to differ from other people seen before. For first time saw deer droppings eaten. They had them in a bucket frozen and ate them as we do berries. Similarly when deer were killed at Kirkpűk's camp two days ago grubs were gathered in a small pail and passed around as a sort of dessert after the meal as we might nuts or fruit.

Care of Infirm. One man of about forty-five, Avranna, is totally blind and has been "for a long time." He seems tenderly cared for and goes walking about outside with his cane, guided by the shouts of grown people or children warning him of obstacles and telling him where to go.

May 7. Houses. Houses here have the land east of them but all have doors facing north, in that direction land is about two miles away. At last village (Kirkpűk's) three houses faced south, one east, and one north. The one facing east was north of a house facing south but there was no house immediately east of it and none farther north or west.

Hunting Seals. Seals on top the ice are occasionally hunted here, both sorts. This method is called "auktok" (he hunts seals by crawling up to them on his stomach). The same word is used for this method at Mackenzie River and Port Clarence. Kirkpűk told me, "I have often seen people crawl upon seals (auxhigu) but I have never tried it myself." It seemed only the older men ever did it, of those in that village, and not even all of them, for Apatok said he never tried it. Roughly speaking, the Noahonirmiut (mainland) had never done it and the Puiplirmiut (Simpson Bay, Victoria Island) had.

Stone Houses. In nearly the bottom of the small bay just west of the mouth of the Kogluktok set a hundred yards back from the present waterline, we found what we were told was "turn˝rat iglukapcaluk." This was so covered with snow which must also have filled the inside that I did not attempt to uncover it. It would have taken a day's hard work. It seemed to be about eight feet high and about eight feet in diameter, about the shape of a truncated cone, the truncated section not over three feet across. It is said to have a door on ground level about the size of the door of an Eskimo (local) snowhouse, and children often use it for a play house in summer. "It was built by the turnrat long before the time of our forebears" (sivulivut). There is one other somewhat like it to the south at Tuktuktok. I could not make out positively if this is the neck of Cape Krusenstern where Capt. Bernard found a similar house, though they said Tuktuktok was of a piece with the same land as Puiblirk. The house is built of flat limestone slabs, some of which must weigh over one hundred pounds even those near the top. There is no evidence of sod or moss between stones: The house is not at a conspicuous point on the coast that would attract attention of passing boats.

People. People are said to be here and there (got no idea of how many) from here to Haneragmiut. The nearest village is Puiplirmiut, about six miles west, just west of an island which may be the most easterly one marked on the chart in Simpson Bay, just west of Clouston Bay (Mouth of Kogluktok is probably in Clouston Bay). This village consists of four houses, probably about twelve people. I should have found out their names only I intended going there but changed the plan on having to go about three miles inland for first deer killed by B. There were three of last village along who were to convey us to next village, but they turned home packing deer we gave them (Kalaark, Aialik, and Hinaxiak). Have been unable to form a definite idea of the total number of Puiplirmiut. Suppose I have seen aggregate of less than half. Near Nagyoktok we are said to have missed one party of them, and there are others west of ones whose village we intended visiting today.

Musk-oxen never killed by Puiplirmiut when hunting at home. "Plenty'' on other side Prince Albert Sound.

May 9. Forsythe Bay. Eskimo Village at mouth of Kimiryuak. Visitors arrived about 1 A. M. this morning. Neglected to note yesterday we saw a native village with the glasses a mile or two southwest of the most easterly island off the mouth of the Kimiryuak (Forsythe Bay, if Forsythe Bay is the narrow estuary or fjord-like bay and not the wider one west of it.) Two of the four families of this village had started inland in the afternoon, following the river. When they came to our trail the rest camped and two men followed us up. They must have known we were not of their people for B. used snowshoes. Probably guessed who we were, though they did not let on that they had. When they heard our names, however, they knew we were the party that had passed east last spring and asked where the rest were. They have been catching plenty seals and ugrug lately, the latter in the river mouth. They are going up the river to fish in some small lakes in which the river heads "not far inland." They will follow the river ice all the way so the stream cannot be crooked. Must come from the east or northeast, the latter more probable. The lakes in which the river heads are called small. The fish are sea fish (salmon?) and are caught with hooks. The rest of their party will follow them inland. "It is time, for ugrug are on top the ice by the shore." The ugrug caught lately were speared through the holes, winter fashion.

The Uallinermiut. Older of two men asked B. if he were a Uallinermiut, On B's replying "Yes," he told us his wife's father was a Uallinermiut too.

May 12. Near Prince Albert Sound. Food Taboos. Hunting with Hupgok last summer was a young man (B. tells), Kamoariok (Kogluktok) who forbade anybody to break for marrow bones of caribou he had killed. Both ends must be sawed off to get the marrow. This was because "caribou might all leave the country, if the bones of any he had killed were broken for marrow." This man would break in the ordinary way bones of caribou killed by anyone else. He was the only one last summer who, so far as any of us learned, put restrictions on manner of eating marrow. B. says in his place he heard of people who had similar restrictions as to breaking marrow bones. When B. was young he had pain in his index finger. The doctor then told him that until he was a grown man he must not eat fish roe or he would quickly die. B. kept restriction some years but broke it before grown up. None of his people would eat ptarmigan heads with seal oil for fear of going blind.

May 13. An Eskimo Village. Saw from our island village on ice bearing 270░ from hill on south middle of island. Started for this at 3 P. M. after shooting and skinning one more caribou. Got to people sealing three miles southeast of village at 6 P. M. and to village at 7 P. M. Distance from island about ten miles. Evidently much nearer south than north shore of bay.

Our reception seems worth describing. The three first approached showed some timidity which quickly wore off and invited us to village. When within half mile they signalled meaning "The Togmiut are coming" by one man running off to the left from us at right angles to our course about ten yards and back to us again, this repeated twice. A crowd of men and boys then started to meet us, a crowd of women following a few yards behind, because of timidity or because slower runners. When they reached us we were surrounded by a howling friendly mob who jumped around us, pulled at our clothes to attract attention and all talked at once so no one could be heard. They were eager to help put up a tent, but of course were more hindrance than help. When the tent was up seventeen persons besides ourselves crowded into the tent (seven by seven feet square). When first approaching us all ran with upstretched hands, palms forward, saying: "Ilyeranaittugut, imainnarittugut," the latter words accompanied by an opening and closing of the palm to show there was no weapon held in the hand.

Note: From this date to the entries of May 22 the author's diary is given in full as Chapter XVIII of My Life with the Eskimo.

May 22. Cape Baring. Traces of People. Saw one snowhouse about a mile east of the pitch of Cape Baring yesterday (Alunak's, no doubt) about three hundred yards off shore, door facing southwest. Nearest way to land was south. Several "up-ended" stones seen near beach today and one grave (?).

May 23. Traces of People. After leaving Clouston Bay and before reaching mountains proper, we saw six stone graves. All were conspicuously placed on top hills, but not on top the very highest, and were merely irregular low heaps of stones as they are at Parry. Saw no bones or artifacts. In one case two graves on same hilltop, about five yards apart, other graves isolated. Numerous "up-ended" stones and some stones placed on top of others, but none in regular lines as if deer drives. One tent ring seen of usual oval type. Tent rings less conspicuous than graves and therefore more readily overlooked. "Up-ended" stones in mountains and one tent ring about twenty miles before reaching the Sound. One empty meat or blubber cache seen on Ualliraluk Island.

Ugrug. According to Hitkoak there are plenty ugrug near U˝ahiktak Island off the bay of the Ekalluktogmiut.

Names of People and Places. According to Hitkoak the Ahiagmiut are south of the Ekalluktogmiut on the mainland. Aulativigyuak and Pitokirk (Peelokek of Hanbury) are in their country. Hitkoak has been at the Akilinik only above the lakes; he has heard there are lakes in it down stream from where he was; he has forgotten the names of them. He has been at Uminmuktok. In front of it is the island Ekalluligaluk (Barry Island?). Kilaktorvik is a small river near Uminmuktok. Ku'nayuk is a river just west of Aulativigyuak (White Bear Point). Aulativigyuak is so called because it is a great place to hook for fish. Kulgayuk another river just west of the Kunayuk. The people that frequent the Akilinik are the Ahiagmiut and the Kaernermiut.

The Kaernermiut. The Kaernermiut (according to Hitkoak) never kill seals, but live on caribou and musk-oxen. Their land is east and south of the Ahiagmiut. They never come to the sea except as single families visiting other tribes.

The Netjiligmiut. Hitkoak has heard of the Netjiligmiut but never seen them. East of the Netjiligmiut again he has heard there are people without chins whose necks come out flat with their mouths and breasts.

The Natjirtogmiut. On the south coast of Victoria Island, east of the Nagyuktogmiut, Hitkoak has heard there are the Natjirtogmiut. He has never visited the Nagyuktogmiut or Natjirtogmiut nor have any Sound people.

Place Names. Prince Albert Sound, Ka˝hirgyuak; Minto Inlet, Ka˝hiryuatjiak; Walker Bay, Ka˝erxhinerak; De Salis Bay (?), Ka˝erxualuk; Cape Wollaston (?), Kitikat (the place they leave Victoria Island to cross to Iga'huk.) They sleep three times, three camps, on ice between these capes; Cape Cardwell or Cape Collinson, Iga'huk (this also serves as name for Banks Island); Cape Baring, Ikpigyuak; Point south of Baring, Nauyat; River south of Baring, Kugaryuak; Back River, Hanni˝ayok; Arkilinik River (Hanbury), Akkilinik; Albert Edward Bay, Ekalluktok (same name given large river that flows into Albert Edward Bay); Admiralty Island (?), U˝ahiktak; Taylor Island, Omannak.

May 30. Near Crocker River. Commerce between Groups, B. tells when he was young the Uallinermiut used to come to Port Clarence, with umiaks loaded with nothing but pogotat (wooden platters, pails, etc.) He thinks these Uallinermiut were mostly or all Unalit. These were bought by the Port Clarence people and carried by umiak the following summer to the Khodhlit who bought them for reindeer hides chiefly, but also for tobacco. The Port Clarence people paid for the pogotat entirely in goods received from the Khodhlit, reindeer hides, legs, sinews, and tobacco.

Bows. The Ka˝hiryuarmiut make few of their bows, but get most of them from the Haneragmiut in exchange for iron goods (plunder from Bay of Mercy and goods bought of Ekalluktogmiut who get them on the Akilinik), and made and unmade copper.

Tent Sticks. Their tent sticks are partly of local driftwood, partly from the Haneragmiut (Cape Bexley driftwood), but chiefly from the Puiplirmiut who get them from those who hunt on the Dease.

Sleds. Their sleds are chiefly or entirely from two sources, the Haneragmiut who either get the wood or the made sleds from the lands or the hands of the Akuliakattagmiut, or from the Puiplirmiut who get them as they do the tent sticks. Of course, a Puiplirmiut sled may get to the Kanhiryuarmiut by way of the Haneragmiut or a Haneragmiut or Akuliakattagmiut sled by way of the Puiplirmiut for these meet every winter to trade.

Trade between Groups. The Akuliakattagmiut get Bay of Mercy iron from the Kanhiryuarmiut and Hudson Bay iron from both Kanhiryuarmiut and Puiplirmiut, the Kanhiryuarmiut getting it from the Ekalluktogmiut who either got it themselves on the Akilinik or got it from the Ahiagmiut; the P. getting it from the Kogluktogmiut or the Nag. who get it from the Uminmuktok who got it directly from the Akk. (by going for it or from the Pallirmiut traders who come to Uminmuktok from the Akilinik) or through the intermediation of the Ahiagmiut.

May 31. Traces of People. Traces of people, such as there are, would be very easy to find now if we only had a third man to leave me free to follow the beach while they proceeded off shore. The snow that must have covered many things the first week of May and the last week of April last year is now all gone. Around our present camp have seen no traces of men except one stick that was probably used as a chopping block (by Richardson's party?), axes were very sharp. Cuttings might be anything from six to sixty years old.

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