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When the Whalers Were Up North Inuit Memories from the Eastern Arctic by Dorothy Harley Eber

When the Whalers Were Up North Inuit Memories from the Eastern Arctic

Part of the McGill-Queen's Native and Northern Series Series


When the Whalers Were Up North Inuit Memories from the Eastern Arctic by Dorothy Harley Eber

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, whaling vessels from Britain and America plied their trade in great numbers in the waters off the eastern Arctic of North America. This text provides the perspective of the Inuit, who welcomed the whalers and served on their crews. It is a story drawn from oral memories, a story which will soon disappear with the last Inuit generation to have seen the whalers. It contains a collection of drawings, photographs, and illustrations, tales are told of when the whalers first appeared on the north-east coast of Baffin Island, how they set up land stations in the whale-rich waters of Cumberland Sound, and how they eventually pushed on into Hudson Bay. During this time the Inuit not only fed and clothed the whalers, they hunted with them, adding to the whalers' wealth. Our understanding of change in Inuit life is often linked to the fur traders, who arrived in the North 50 years after the arrival of the whalers. In truth it is the Inuit's close contact with the foreign world of the whalers that marked the beginning of a change in previously undisturbed Inuit culture and traditions.


A gem of a book ... Eber has succeeded well in elucidating the interaction between Eastern Arctic Inuit and the American and Scottish whalemen who came to Cumberland Sound, Hudson Strait, and Hudson Bay in the century before the last whaler left in 1915 ... Anyone interested in the socio-economic impact of Arctic whaling, the Inuit, or the ethnological record of such inter-cultural contact will find this book worthy of study. Briton C. Busch, Argonauta. A remarkable collection of Eastern Arctic lore. Books in Canada. A major contribution to Inuit social history. Mick Mallon, Nunatsiaq News.

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

1st September 1989


Dorothy Harley Eber

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McGill-Queen's University Press


208 pages


History of the Americas
Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900



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