Today’s post is diverging from the norm. I wanted to devote some blog space to showcasing a project that a good friend of mine, France Rivet at Polar Horizons, is pursuing. France is passionate about the earth’s polar regions. This passion led her to uncover a partially-told piece of history about the fate of some of Canada’s Inuit, long, long ago. The tale is a tragic one, but one that is incomplete. The final chapter is about to be written….
In the mid to late 1800’s, ethnological exhibitions also known as human zoos, were popular in Europe. Sadly, people that were considered ‘exotic’ such as native people of northern Europe, North America, and Africa were brought to zoos in Europe and exhibited a curiosities and often considered as different species. Human zoos are a sad, but very real part of human history.
The adventure of Abraham Ulrikab and his family is one such story. Abraham, was an Inuit from Labrador, Canada. He and his family accompanied another Inuit family to Europe in the 1880’s, to be exhibited in human zoos. But because they had never been exposed to the diseases of Europeans and because they were not vaccinated against them, Abraham and his colleagues contracted smallpox not long after their arrival in Europe. One by one, they succumbed to the disease.
Most of the individuals in this sad tale died in Paris yet little is known about the events leading up to their deaths or what happened to them after they died.
My friend, France Rivet is researching the fate of these Inuit in Paris to write the final chapter of this story that began over 100 years ago. She has already been to Paris once to follow up on leads that tell us something about the Inuit’s final days in Paris. But it is just the tip of the iceberg and there is more research to be done.
France is currently raising funds through a crowd-funding project that will allow her to go back to Paris to uncover the story of the final days of these Inuit from Labrador. The story leading up to those final days in Paris is masterfully told in her video which sets the stage for her current research.
To understand the research left to be done, click on the link below to hear France describe her upcoming research.
It’s a fantastic story and an incredible piece of world history. The time has come for the final chapter in this story to be written. Please consider supporting France’s research to bring home the story of the final days of these two Inuit families from Labrador, Canada.