GATINEAU, QC, Nov. 18, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Polar Horizons proudly makes public the results of its four-year investigation into the fate of eight Labrador Inuit who died in Europe in December 1880 and January 1881 while being exhibited in zoos.
Our research, conducted by France Rivet uncovered, in Paris and in Berlin, the remains of seven of the eight individuals, including those of Abraham Ulrikab, an Inuk from Hebron whose diary was the subject of a few publications. But, to this day, Abraham's story remained incomplete. Where were the Inuit buried? What happened to their remains? Nobody knew. In 2010, France Rivet set out to look for answers.
In 2011, France Rivet was astonished when a national French museum informed her that they hold the skeletons of the five individuals who died in Paris in January 1881. Namely, 35-year-old Abraham, his 24-year-old wife Ulrike, their 13-month-old daughter Maria, 20-year-old Tobias, and 45-year-old Tigianniak. This museum also holds the skullcap of Tigianniak's wife, 50-year-old Paingu. France's research has also determined that the skull of 3-year-old Sara, the daughter Abraham and Ulrike, is part of Rudolf Virchow's skull collection in Berlin. Finally, plaster casts of the brains of Abraham, Ulrike and Tobias belong to a French anatomical museum.
As of today, 15-year-old Nugassak, daughter of Tigianniak and Paingu, is the only one of the eight whose remains have not been found.
France Rivet consolidated all her findings into In the Footsteps of Abraham Ulrikab: The Events of 1880-1881, a 344-page book (100 photographs and illustrations) which details the Inuit's journey and explains the events that occurred after their death. The story is being told through the writings of the main actors of the 19th century: Abraham; Johan Adrian Jacobsen (their recruiter and impresario); the journalists who reported on the Inuit's tour; the Moravian missionaries who opposed Abraham's departure; the anthropologists who studied the Inuit either before or after their death; the physicians who admitted the Inuit to the Paris hospital or performed the autopsies; just to name a few.
The diary of Norwegian Johan Adrian Jacobsen also being essential to understand the tragic events, Polar Horizons orchestrated its translation and published it under the title Voyage With the Labrador Eskimos, 1880–1881. Discover the moods, thoughts and qualms of this 27-year-old man throughout his journey with the Labrador 'Eskimos'.
Both books are available in English and in French at Polar Horizons' online bookstore, Amazon or Ingram.
Polar Horizons is also very proud that its discussions with the Canadian federal authorities have led to the following statement being included in the Canada-France Enhanced Cooperation Agenda signed on June 14, 2013 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President François Hollande:
Work with the appropriate authorities to help to repatriate Inuit bones from French museum collections to Canada.
The decision to repatriate the Inuit's remains now lies in the hands of the Nunatsiavut government and of the Labrador Inuit community. Polar Horizons' two publications act as a catalyst for this decisional process.
Polar Horizons Inc. is an enterprise dedicated to promoting greater awareness and appreciation of the Arctic, its nature, people and history. We aim to share our adventures, knowledge and passion for the Arctic, and to contribute in building bridges between Northerners and Southerners.
Visit www.polarhorizons.com/en/media-kit for author biography, book synopsis, sample chapter, photos, etc. or www.abrahamulrikab.com for more details about our research project on Abraham Ulrikab's story.
SOURCE: Polar Horizons Inc.
For further information: France Rivet, Polar Horizons, 819-561-5470, [email protected]