Carib

St. Lucia, St Lucia

First Contact:

10
70
20
gather% / fish % / hunt %
fat % / protein % / carb%

A rough estimate to help us understand how carnivorous and how ketogenic these people were before being exposed to western civilization

1/0

Click this Slide deck Gallery to see high quality images of the tribe, daily life, diet, hunting and gathering or recipes

About the Tribe

Who were the Carib? - Possibly a carnivore population.


CARNIWAY-animals-only.png

Importance of Animal Products

The Carib Indians were primarily fishing people. They took to sea in their long canoes to catch fish, crabs, and other seafood. Hunters also shot birds and small game.

Importance of Plants

In some Carib communities, farming was an important food source, with cassava, beans, squash, and peppers being grown. Other Carib groups did little farming and acquired peppers and cassava through trade or raiding.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545405/?page=4

shutterstock_300666986 (1).png
Untitled design (17).png

Transition to Industrialized Food Products

Observations on the Diseases Which Appeared in the Army at St. Lucia in 1778 and 1779. To Which Are Prefixed Remarks, Calculated to Assist in Explaining the Treatment of Those Diseases. With an Appendix, Containing a Short Address to Military Gentlemen on the Means of Preserving Health in the West Indies


In the fourth chapter the author describes the situations of the island, in which the men specified in the table were fixed, and endeavours to determine which are the most healthy. For this purpoSe he gives a comparative view of the health of the natives compared with that of the troops.

He observes, that "at Carenage-town the People are:

  • short-lived,

  • have annual attacks of fever,

  • yellow and meagre countenances,

  • small legs, except when edematous,

  • so that they have the appearance of persons worn out by disease.

At Gros Met, we are told:

  • the inhabitants live longer,

  • are not fo subject to disease, at least not the same degree or duration,

  • and that they are fuller in the face,

  • and more hearty.

At Souffrir the inhabitants have:

  • cheerful countenances,

  • and nearly in a state of health with those of Gros Islet,

but this, our author thinks, may be attributed to a better diet rather than situation. "

On the extensive plain to windward of this place very few diseases appear, and they are mostly internments : the countenances here of the women, of the children, and even of the men, have some degree of resemblance to those of the European, the female has the red on her cheek, and the child has all the marks of health.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545405/?page=4


Carenage, formerly known as Le Carenage, is one of the most popular bays located in west Trinidad. This bay, which is a famous sea bathing and liming area, got its name out of the practice of "careening", or cleaning out the waste materials in sea vessels, which was carried out in the area for centuries.

Initially, Le Carenage was the name given to the river flowing into this bay as well as the valley were the river flowed.

The Carenage valley, possibly because of its extremely fertile soils was essentially an agricultural area where crops sugar-cane, cotton and coffee were grown. In fact, the area contained ten sugar mills, five rum distilleries and a workforce consisting of 607 enslaved Africans and 131 'free' people of colour. Owners of the estates comprised of 19 families (64 whites), including the Dumas, Noel, Dert, Mercie families. http://www.trinbagopan.com/Townsandvillages/Carenage2.html


Carenage, formerly known as Le Carenage, is one of the most popular bays located in west Trinidad. This bay, which is a famous sea bathing and liming area, got its name out of the practice of "careening", or cleaning out the waste materials in sea vessels, which was carried out in the area for centuries.

Initially, Le Carenage was the name given to the river flowing into this bay as well as the valley were the river flowed.

The Carenage valley, possibly because of its extremely fertile soils was essentially an agricultural area where crops sugar-cane, cotton and coffee were grown. In fact, the area contained ten sugar mills, five rum distilleries and a workforce consisting of 607 enslaved Africans and 131 'free' people of colour. Owners of the estates comprised of 19 families (64 whites), including the Dumas, Noel, Dert, Mercie families.

In 1849, Lord Harris made the Carenage area into district into a ward. Also, a few years later in 1851, an inland postal service was inaugurated in Trinidad, making Carenage one of the first places to receive mail in the country. Carenage was also one of first areas to set up primary schools in the country.

Despite the area's popularity as a fairly prosperous agricultural region, the face of Carenage seemed to change by the 1870's becoming a poor fishing village, although many were still involved in agriculture. It was at this time that parish priest (or abbé) Antoine Poujade came to assist the poor and helped to erect a chapel and a statue of St. Peter overlooking what is now known as St. Peter's Bay.


Gros Islet (English: Large Island) is a community near the northern tip of the island country of Saint Lucia, in the Gros Islet Quarter. Originally a quiet fishing village, it has gone on to become one of the more popular tourist destinations in the country.

Settled by the Carib (and possibly Arawak), the area was first identified as Gros Islet in a French map from 1717. The community was a Roman Catholic parish, as the first priests who arrived on the island settled in the village in 1749.


https://www.diffordsguide.com/producers/174/st-lucia-distillers/history

Dec 1, 1778

John Rollo

Observations on the Diseases Which Appeared in the Army at St. Lucia in 1778 and 1779. To Which Are Prefixed Remarks, Calculated to Assist in Explaining the Treatment of Those Diseases. With an Appendix, Containing a Short Address to Military Gentlemen on the Means of Preserving Health in the West Indies

GreatWhiteOncomingSquare.jpg

Dr Rollo, who later recommended a meat diet, writes 20 years earlier while stationed in St Lucia, that the civilized town Carenage with sugar production had far greater disease than the fishing village of Gros Islet and attributes it to a difference in diet.


Observations on the Diseases Which Appeared in the Army at St. Lucia in 1778 and 1779. To Which Are Prefixed Remarks, Calculated to Assist in Explaining the Treatment of Those Diseases. With an Appendix, Containing a Short Address to Military Gentlemen on the Means of Preserving Health in the West Indies 


in the fourth chapter the author describes the situations of the island, in which the men specified in the table were fixed, and endeavours to determine which are the most healthy. For this purpoSe he gives a comparative view of the health of the natives compared with that of the troops. 


He observes, that "at Carenage-town the People are:

  • short-lived, 

  • have annual attacks of fever, 

  • yellow and meagre countenances, 

  • small legs, except when eedematous, 

  • so that they have the appearance of persons worn out by disease. 

At Gros Met, we are told:

  •  the inhabitants live longer,

  • are not fo subject to disease, at least not the same degree or duration,

  •  and that they are fuller in the face,

  •  and more hearty.

At Souffrir the inhabitants have:

  •  cheerful countenances, 

  • and nearly in a state of health with those of Gros Islet, 

but this, our author thinks, may be attributed to a better diet rather than situation. "


On the extensive plain to windward of this place very few diseases appear, and they are mostly internments : the countenances here of the women, of the children, and even of the men, have some degree of resemblance to those of the European, the female has the red on her cheek, and the child has all the marks of health.


http://www.trinbagopan.com/Townsandvillages/Carenage2.html


Carenage, formerly known as Le Carenage, is one of the most popular bays located in west Trinidad. This bay, which is a famous sea bathing and liming area, got its name out of the practice of "careening", or cleaning out the waste materials in sea vessels, which was carried out in the area for centuries.

Initially, Le Carenage was the name given to the river flowing into this bay as well as the valley were the river flowed.

The Carenage valley, possibly because of its extremely fertile soils was essentially an agricultural area where crops sugar-cane, cotton and coffee were grown. In fact, the area contained ten sugar mills, five rum distilleries and a workforce consisting of 607 enslaved Africans and 131 'free' people of colour. Owners of the estates comprised of 19 families (64 whites), including the Dumas, Noel, Dert, Mercie families.


https://www.diffordsguide.com/producers/174/st-lucia-distillers/history


Gros Islet (English: Large Island) is a community near the northern tip of the island country of Saint Lucia, in the Gros Islet Quarter. Originally a quiet fishing village, it has gone on to become one of the more popular tourist destinations in the country.[3]

Settled by the Carib (and possibly Arawak), the area was first identified as Gros Islet in a French map from 1717.[4] The community was a Roman Catholic parish, as the first priests who arrived on the island settled in the village in 1749.[5]


Who were the Carib? - Possibly a carnivore population. 


The Carib Indians were primarily fishing people. They took to sea in their long canoes to catch fish, crabs, and other seafood. Hunters also shot birds and small game. In some Carib communities, farming was an important food source, with cassava, beans, squash, and peppers being grown. Other Carib groups did little farming and acquired peppers and cassava through trade or raiding.

Jan 1, 1906

Letters of the present rector of St. Peter's-by-the-Sea, of Sitka, the Reverend Henry H. Chapman.

GreatWhiteOncomingSquare.jpg

Eskimo natives had a range of cooking styles and mostly carnivorous diets but did not suffer from cancer until modern foods entered their diet.

In reply to a further query, the rector wrote again from Sitka on September 16, 1958. He confirmed that he had lived at Anvik all but three of the years between his birth in 1895 and his first journey in 1908 when he went out to become a graduate of Middlebury College, Vermont. “I returned to Anvik as a missionary in 1922 and lived there until 1948, except for furloughs and the four years I was in Fairbanks.

“The native people of the Anvik area are Athapaskans. During my youth the main parts of their food were meat (caribou, rabbits, grouse, waterfowl, beaver, porcupine, black bear and lynx) and fish (salmon, whitefish, shellfish, loche and lampreys). The loche has a large liver which is said to be even richer in vitamins than ordinary cod liver. The Indians also ate raw foods such as berries, wild rhubarb, and a root which they called ‘mouseberries’ because it was gathered and hoarded by field mice.

“They obtained fat from caribou, black bear, and beaver tails. The lampreys were rich in oil, which was highly prized. They also bought seal oil from the Eskimos. Even in my boyhood they supplemented their native diet with white man's food, including lard ...

“The usual way of cooking meat was either boiling or frying. As a boy I was once invited by a party of Indians to eat bear meat with them. It was boiled and well done ... I do not know that any flesh foods were eaten raw, except for dried fish ...”

Neither does the published literature on the forest Indians report that any flesh foods were customarily eaten raw by the forest Indians of Alaska or northern Canada. Indeed, the name “Eskimos” is believed by many to have been derived from an Algonquin expression meaning “they eat their meat raw.”

When I went down north along the Mackenzie, in 1906 and 1908, I now and then heard talk of how horrified the Athapaskans had been when they first saw white men of the Northwest Company and Hudson's Bay Company eating the customary British underdone roast meats. In 1910, when we met the Athapaskans northeast of Great Bear Lake — Dogribs, Slaves, and Yellowknives — we found that they were still mildly horrified to see the Hudson's Bay Company Canadian Joseph Hodgson and the Old Country British John Hornby and Cosmo Melvil, who were then living among them, eating rare caribou steaks and roasts.

In a presentation of evidence regarding the views of frontier doctors on the incidence of cancer, it is of consequence to make clear that early testimony regarding the rarity or absence of malignancies is as clear and strong for the forest Indian north as for the grassland Eskimo country. Some of the early medical missionaries — notably Dr. Hutton in Labrador — have inclined to credit a diet of raw flesh with that former absence of cancer in which they believed. To emphasize this point let me quote again Dr. Hutton's book Health Conditions (1925), Page 35:

“Some diseases common in Europe have no t come under my notice ... Of these diseases the most striking is cancer ... In this connection it may be noted that cookery holds a very secondary place in the preparation of food — most of the food is eaten raw ...”

If only Eskimos are considered, in relation to the alleged former absence of cancer, and of these only the Labradorians, then the logical deduction for one who believes nutrition to be fundamental in relation to malignancy, is that actual rawness of food may be the crucially important cancer-inhibiting factor. But the force of this logic diminishes as we go westward from Labrador, among the Eskimos. Without cancer's appearing at all, cooking grows steadily more important as we move west. From Dr. Hutton's and other accounts, the Labradorians, east of Hudson Bay, were the greatest raw-flesh eaters of the whole Eskimo world. West of the Bay the boiling of flesh increases; and inland from the Bay, among the Caribou Eskimos, the roasting of caribou supplements the boiling. At Coronation Gulf, near where Dr. Jenness and I spent the first years during which the Copper Eskimos ever associated closely with Europeans, the years 1910 to 1915, there was considerable summer use of roasting, though the winter cooking, if any, was by boiling. Among the Mackenzie Eskimos, as described from the 1860's by Father Emile Petitot and from the early 1900's by myself, boiling and roasting were both considerable. These methods were even a bit more common in northern Alaska, as described by John Simpson in the 1850's and Murdoch in the 1880's. In southwestern Alaska as described by Dr. Romig in the manuscript he submitted to our Encyclopedia Antarctica, for the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first one of the twentieth, the cooking of flesh foods reached its Eskimo high point.

Yet the mission testimony, starting from Labrador, remains equally clear, from east to west: the medical missionaries all looked for cancer, and they never found it among the “primitive,” though they did find it among the “modernized.”

Thus clarification is important for whoever expects a nutritional key to this Eskimo cancer situation. Among the Athapaska and western Eskimos cooking was hardly ever carried to the point of “well done,” or “boiled to pieces.” Instead the native meats resembled our fashionable roasts, which have a well-done layer on the outside, medium done just under that, and the center pink or red. And so it was with the forest Indians — at least with those Athapaskans from Great Bear Lake to just west of the Mackenzie, with whom I hunted and lived — though they insisted on some cooking, they were in practice as careful as Eskimo cooks to see that the centers of most pieces were pink.

To sum up the raw and cooked-food elements of northern medical missionary theorizing about cancer:

During the time when large numbers of non-Europeanized northern natives were allegedly free of cancer, there was little cooking of flesh foods beyond the degree which we call medium. Among grassland and coastal Eskimos raw flesh eating ranged from a great deal in northern Labrador to a good deal in southwestern Alaska. Only among forest Indians were raw flesh foods avoided, and even among these there was little use of overcooked flesh.

Vegetable foods, where eaten at all, were always raw, among prairie and woodland natives alike. Among Eskimos, vegetable foods were important only in the farthest west — along the west coast of Alaska, among the Aleutians, and along the south coast of Alaska. In the most northerly region from Baffin Island, Canada, to Point Barrow, Alaska, vegetable eating was negligible, except in time of famine. Among woodland Indians, vegetables were negligible with the Athapaskans from the west shore of Hudson Bay to beyond the Mackenzie. In Alaska the eating of raw vegetables by forest Indians increased westward along the northern belt and then increased still more southward, into the country of the Tlingit.

During the time when the medical missionaries reported cancer difficult or impossible to find among large numbers of primitive natives, there was no usual cooking of any vegetables, whether among grassland or forest natives. The cooking of vegetables is part of that Europeanization which is considered by some missionaries to be responsible for the introduction of cancer, or for the change from its being hard to find to its being impossible not to notice.

The European-style application of intense heat to food through frying was new to all northern North American natives.

May 2, 1906

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

My Life with the Eskimos - Chapter 2

GreatWhiteOncomingSquare.jpg

Stefansson describes the dietary habits of the Mackenzie Valley population, in terms of their inability to grow much produce and their dependence upon meat and fish and especially fat in terms of preventing rabbit starvation.

There are many people in the Mackenzie district who have given me much valuable information about their country, the greater part of which , however, has to be omitted here, but few men perhaps know the country better than Father Giroux, formerly stationed at Arctic Red River but now in charge of Providence. He says it is true in the Mackenzie district, as it is among the Arctic Eskimo, that measles is the deadliest of all diseases. There have been several epidemics, so that it might be supposed that the most susceptible had been weeded out, and yet the last epidemic (1903) killed about one fifth of the entire population of the Mackenzie Valley . He had noticed also a distinct and universal difference in health between those who wear white men's clothing and who live in white men's houses, as opposed to those who keep the ancient customs in the matter of dress and dwellings. These same elements I have since found equally harmful among the Eskimo, although among them must be added the surely no less dangerous element, the white men's diet, which is no more suited to the people than white men's clothing or houses. 


Grains and vegetables of most kinds, and even strawberries, are successfully cultivated at Providence. North of that, the possible agricultural products get fewer and fewer, until finally the northern limit of successful potato growing is reached near Fort Good Hope, on the Arctic Circle. Potatoes are grown farther north, but they do not mature and are not of good quality. 


In certain things the Mackenzie district was more advanced the better part of a century ago than it is now; the explorers of Franklin's parties, for instance, found milk cows at every Hudson's Bay post and were able to get milk and cream as far north as the Arctic Circle and even beyond. At that time, too, every post had large stores of dried meat and pemmican, so that if you had the good-will of the Company you could always stock up with provisions anywhere. Now this is all changed. Game has become so scarce that it would be difficult for the Company, even if they tried, to keep large stores of meat on hand. The importation of foodstuffs from the outside, on the other hand, has not grown easy as yet, and it is therefore much more difficult to buy provisions now than it was in Franklin's time. The trading posts are located now exactly where Franklin found them, so that taking this into consideration, and the decrease of game all over the northern country, it is clear that exploration on such a plan as ours — that of living on the country —is more difficult now than it was a hundred years ago. Another element that makes the situation more risky is that while then you could count on finding Indians anywhere who could supply you with provisions, or at least give you information as to where game might be found, now there are so few of the Indians left alive , —and all of those left are so concentrated around the trading posts , —that you may go hundreds of miles without seeing a camp or a trail, where seventy-five or a hundred years ago you would have found the trails crossing each other and might have seen the camp smokes rising here and there. 


The food supplies of the different posts vary according to location . In general the trading stations are divided into "fish posts" and “meat posts.” Fort Smith is a typical meat post, for caribou are found in the neighborhood and moose also; and the Indians not only get meat enough for themselves and for the white men, but the fur traders even find the abundance of the meat supply a handicap in their business, - for the Indian who has plenty to eat does not trap so energetically as do others who must pay in fur for some of their food. Resolution, Hay River, and Providence, on the other hand, are fish posts, while at any of the northern trading stations potatoes nowadays play a considerable part in the food supply, even as far up as Good Hope. In certain places and in certain years rabbits are an important article of diet, but even when there is an abundance of this animal, the Indians consider themselves starving if they get nothing else, and fairly enough, as my own party can testify, for any one who is compelled in winter to live for a period of several weeks on lean-meat will actually starve, in this sense: that there are lacking from his diet certain necessary elements, notably fat, and it makes no difference how much he eats, he will be hungry at the end of each meal, and eventually he will lose strength or become actually ill. The Eskimo who have provided themselves in summer with bags of seal oil can carry them into a rabbit country and can live on rabbits satisfactorily for months. The Indian, unfortunately for him, has no animal in his country so richly supplied with fat as is the seal, and nowadays he will make an effort to buy a small quantity of bacon to eat with his rabbits, unless he has a little caribou or moose fat stored up from the previous autumn.

Jun 1, 1906

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

My Life with the Eskimo - Chapter 3

GreatWhiteOncomingSquare.jpg

Stefansson talks about Mr. Thomas Anderson of the Hudson Bay Company "much of his talk concerned the degenerate later days when people insisted on living on such imported things as beans, canned corn, and tomatoes, whereas in his day they lived entirely on fish and caribou meat."

On my first trip down the Mackenzie River all of the affairs of the Company had been under the direction of Mr. Thomas Anderson, an energetic and capable officer of the old school. He was a man generous to a fault with his own property, as I have good reason to know through being with him in Winnipeg and Edmonton, but as soon as he got into the North where everything he handled belonged to the Company rather than to himself, he became parsimonious even to niggardliness ; and much of his talk concerned the degenerate later days when people insisted on living on such imported things as beans, canned corn, and tomatoes, whereas in his day they lived entirely on fish and caribou meat. Now everything was changed. Not only had the modern Mackenzie River replaced the old - fashioned Wrigley, but Thomas Anderson had died, and the affairs of the Company were under the no less energetic but completely modern direction of Mr. Brabant. I remember how, in 1906, Mr. Anderson boiled with indignation at having to carry one of the servants of the Hislop & Nagle Trading Company as a passenger for sixty miles from Red River to Macpherson, and he spoke with suppressed fury of the degenerate officials at Winnipeg who compelled him to countenance such things; and now we had in his stead Mr. Brabant, who would have been the better pleased the more of his rivals' men he could have carried, providing, of course, they paid him fares for transportation which yielded a profit to the Company. The change had been gradually taking place, but with the coming of Mr. Brabant the transformation was complete, from the old policy of exclusion of competitors to the modern one of unrestricted competition.

Dec 1, 1907

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

My Life with the Eskimo - Chapter 3

GreatWhiteOncomingSquare.jpg

The ships brought, too, an abundance of provisions. At first the Eskimo would have nothing to do with any of these ; but in the course of a few years they learned the use of flour, molasses, sugar, etc. , which became first luxuries and then necessities. It was important for the whaling ships to get plenty of fresh caribou meat to keep their crews from getting scurvy, and they employed practically the whole population in the pursuit of caribou, fish , and ptarmigan.

When we reached Herschel Island , we did not go to the village in the northeast corner where the mounted police barracks are situated as well as the Eskimo village, both of which are there because of the sandspit that makes the whalemen's harbor. This is not only an excellent harbor in summer, but also a nearly ideal wintering place for the whaling vessels which are shielded by the sandspit from the pressure of the ocean ice. We pitched our camp on Flanders Point on the southeast corner of the island, for that is the best fishing place in the neighborhood, and we were here able to get not only fish enough for ourselves and our dogs, but also were able to lay by a considerable store for our expected boat journey. The first whaling ship reached Herschel Island in 1889, and for a few years thereafter the industry prospered greatly. It was immensely profitable, and at times as many as fourteen ships wintered in the Arctic at one time. This had a sudden effect on the fortunes of the Eskimo. Before that time they had been in the habit of making summer trading voyages up to Fort Macpherson to buy a few small things, but now, when this large whaling fleet came, all their conditions of life were changed. All of the articles which they had been used to buying, they could now get cheaply or for nothing from the whalers, and they soon learned the use of a great many other articles, the very names and appearances of which were unknown to them before – articles which even the Hudson's Bay factor at Macpherson had been compelled to do without. The ships brought, too, an abundance of provisions. At first the Eskimo would have nothing to do with any of these ; but in the course of a few years they learned the use of flour, molasses, sugar, etc. , which became first luxuries and then necessities. It was important for the whaling ships to get plenty of fresh caribou meat to keep their crews from getting scurvy, and they employed practically the whole population in the pursuit of caribou, fish , and ptarmigan . Such things as flour, hard bread, sugar, canned meats and vegetables, butter, etc., they gave with a free hand to the Eskimo, urging them to use them and to save meat.. The Eskimo of course preferred meat as an article of diet, and now they were further impressed with the fact that the white man seemed to consider meat of priceless value and the other food articles of little value or none. Meat, therefore, came to have a fabulous price compared with other commodities, and during the time of my experience in the North, a pound of meat has been worth more than a pound of any article of civilized diet except tea. 


It would be a matter of too great detail to enter here into the minute causes of the change in the Eskimo’s habits of life, but the net result is that although the time from 1889 to 1906 is but a few years, still there has been greater change wrought among the Eskimo during that time than the Hudson's Bay Company has been responsible for among any of the northern Indians in a hundred years. The condition was now, therefore, serious, for the whaling industry was beginning to show the signs of a gradual breakdown, which has since terminated in a complete collapse of the industry . The winter of 1907–1908, only one ship, the Karluk, commanded by Captain James Wing, had wintered at Herschel Island, and he had been so short of provisions and trading articles that the Eskimo considered them selves to be suffering for want of many things to which they were used. It is true, as experience has since shown, that in the absence of whalers the Eskimo of the Mackenzie River are able to live per fectly well on the game and fish of the country; but they did not think so themselves the summer of 1908, any more than those of us used to high living think we can get along on the simple fare of the poor. The mounted police agreed with them in this, and every one therefore considered that they were facing a critical winter. Whaling ships had been expected, but none came. Finally, August 15th, the Karluk came in sight from the east, returning from the Banks Island summer whaling cruise. I went over to see Captain Wing and found that he was very short of stores ; indeed he was completely out of sugar and potatoes and many other articles, and had only a little flour left, but plenty of meat.

May 12, 1908

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

My Life with the Eskimo - Chapter 2

GreatWhiteOncomingSquare.jpg

The Native Americans around Bear Lake would buy civilized clothing that was expensive and not warm enough for the winter, while also purchasing sweet and expensive foods, just to say they are fashionable and modern.

Here, as in many other places on the river, we saw examples of the improvidence of the Indians. Even in winter they dress in imported cloth garments which are far more expensive and not half so warm as the clothing they could make out of the skins of the animals they kill. But similar things occur the world over. Perhaps it should not be regarded as strange, but rather as a proof of the universal brotherhood of man , that the Northern Indian would rather shiver in fashionable attire than be comfortable in the furs which are cheap and therefore unaristocratic. On Bear Lake I have known them to sell caribou skins at fifty cents apiece to buy a duck coat at eight or ten dollars, when two caribou skins would have made a much warmer garment. An Indian woman at Smith Landing, while we were there, traded twenty suckers, which was food enough for a week, for one pound of tinned salmon, which did not make even a meal for her, and this at a time when she had been on short rations for several days on account of the want of fish, and when the twenty fish were all she had caught. Chocolate, imported English jams and marmalade, candies, and ribbons are the staple wares of these posts nowadays. It must be said that it was a part of the generally wise policy of the Hudson's Bay Company not to encourage among the Indians the development of these expensive tastes which it is so difficult for them to find the means to satisfy, but of late years the Company has had to follow where other traders have led them and now , instead of taking into the country what they consider good for the Indian, they are forced to take in anything that the Indian will buy. It is only the wise laws of the land that have determined that these articles shall be candies and sweetmeats instead of brandies and gin.


Page 18-19


We started from Fort Smith June 11th and that afternoon stopped at the mouth of the Salt River to buy salt from the Indians, which they get nearly pure in a bed exposed a few miles upstream . They bring it down to the mouth of the Salt River, where they keep it for trading purposes, supplying the entire Mackenzie district with salt. The Indians everywhere along the river are dressed in general like white men . Many of them speak English, often with a broad Scotch accent, for most of the Hudson's Bay factors, through a whole hundred years or more of the continuous occupation of the Mackenzie valley, have been Scotchmen and Orkneymen. Although practically unknown to science, these Indians are thoroughly sophisticated and have to a large extent forgotten the manners and customs of their ancestors . They are all Christianized, with the exception of one small tribe who live in the mountains westward from Fort Providence. It is a remarkable thing, as we have it from the stories of James Mackinlay and Joseph Hodgson and others who know them well, that this one tribe keep with jealousy the customs, religion, and language of their ancestors. They come down to Fort Providence to trade every summer, but they have nothing to do with the Chris tianized Indians, nor with the white men, except in so far as they are compelled to in the mere matter of trading. These Indians are said by the Hudson's Bay men to differ strikingly from the rest of the natives in being more enterprising, more honorable, and thoroughly self-respecting. Up to four years ago, at least, they had constantly refused to take presents from the Canadian government, a thing which all the other Indians do under the name of "treaty money.” An arrangement was made a few years ago by which all the Indians, with the one exception noted, as far north as Fort Providence, signed away their “tribal rights ” in consideration of the payment to them every year by the Canadian government of five dollars in money, and small presents of tea, flour, and other articles of trade. 


This is an arrangement which for the present at any rate does not seem to be doing the Indians any good, for they lose much valuable time in coming from great distances to the trading posts to wait for the “ treaty parties ” of the Indian Department; but the arrangement at least furnishes employment, no doubt both pleasant and profit able, to a few white men who come each year bearing gifts and who make the annual round of the tribes. There is with them a doctor, usually, who takes a glance at whatever sick and maimed there may be in the Indian villages, and who no doubt picks up information of interest about the condition of the natives ; but he could scarcely be supposed to do them much good, directly, by this one visit a year. It would be much more to the advantage of the Indian if the Canadian government would do as the Danish government does in Greenland, and instead of sending these expensive parties on perfunctory visits, should station a medical man every two hundred or three hundred miles so that his services could be available when needed.

Jul 1, 1909

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

My Life with the Eskimo

GreatWhiteOncomingSquare.jpg

Stefansson explains the game conditions of Northern Alaska and comments on the symbiotic relationship between the natives being given economic incentive to trap for furs and the traders who supplied them with food and tools.

At Fort Norman game conditions have undergone great changes during the last fifty years. The mountain sheep (Ovis dalli) were then, as now, confined to the mountains west of the river, but the moose were also west of the river then, while since that time they have crossed the river and have gradually moved toward Bear Lake and encircled it until, in the summer of 1909, the first moose were seen by the Eskimo on Coronation Gulf near the mouth of the Coppermine River (a fact which, of course , was unknown to the Hudson's Bay traders and which we learned from the Eskimo in the summer of 1910) . The caribou fifty years ago were abundant around Fort Norman and used to pass on their seasonal migrations in vast herds between Fort Norman and Bear Lake; but for the last decade or two practically no caribou have been seen west of the lake, and the hunters have to go to the eastern end of it to get any. The Indians meantime have become not only few through disease, but have also lost their enterprise because of the ease with which they can make their living by sponging on the missions and the traders, and by catching a little fish in the Mackenzie; very few of them, therefore, ever go to the eastern end of the lake for caribou unless some white man goes there too. For years there had been no Indians around the mouth of the Dease River, but now that Melvill, Hornby, and Mackinlay were going in there, a number accompanied them. 


Another animal the migrations of which are of interest is the musk rat. It has been spreading northeast at about the same rate as the moose . We found in 1910 that even the young men among the Eskimo of Coronation Gulf can remember the time when first they saw muskrats on the upper Dease, while today these animals are found much farther north than that, even going close down to the Arctic coast. The beaver, too, are said to be spreading northeast ward, although they are not yet so near the ocean as to be seen by the Eskimo. 


We arrived at Fort Arctic Red River July 5th. This is the most northerly “ fort ” of the Hudson's Bay Company on the Mackenzie River proper. It is, perhaps, a little late in the day to explain what we should have explained in our first reference to the institu tion known as a “ fort” in the North. A Hudson's Bay " fort” is typically a small group of log cabins consisting of the factor's residence, a store in which he trades with the Indians, and possibly a small house in which he keeps dried fish or other provisions. In the early days among the Indians to the south some of the Hudson's Bay trading posts used to have stockades about them , and were, therefore, more deserving of the title of fort ; in the Mackenzie River district there is nothing to suggest special suitability for defending the trading posts against attack. In fact, there has never been any danger of attack, for a simple reason which may be worth pointing out. 


In the fertile lands of the United States and Canada a saying grew up that “the only good Indian is a dead Indian,” because the Indian encumbered the land which the farmer needed for cultivation of crops, and the miner for his digging and delving. The Indian was in the way and had to go, for we could not let questions of mere humanitarianism and justice restrain us from taking possession of the valuable lands that the Indian had inherited from his ancestors. In the South, economic and humanitarian interests were diametrically opposed, and the economic had their way. In the North , economic and humanitarian interests happened to coincide. The northern land was valueless to the farmer, and the country was of value to the trading companies only in so far as it produced fur; and furs could best be secured by perpetuating the Indian and keeping him in possession of the lands, because dead men do not set traps. The only good Indian in the North was the live Indian who brought in fur to sell. No doubt it is largely the result of this economic fact that the Hudson's Bay Company has always treated the Indian so well that it has never been to the Indian's interest to quarrel with the Company, any more than it was to the Company's interest to quarrel with the Indian . And now that civilization , with its diseases, is making in roads into the country, and the Indian seems in danger of disappearing, it is not only human lives but also dollars and cents that the Company sees disappearing before its eyes. When they controlled all the North, they handled its problems a great deal more wisely than the Canadian government has done since, although the Canadians have been both wiser and cleaner-handed than the people of the United States. But the Company no longer own Canada, and they are powerless to check the evii tendencies which they recognize more clearly than any one else.

Jul 23, 1909

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

My Life with the Eskimo - Chapter 3

GreatWhiteOncomingSquare.jpg

Stefansson stays at Fort Macpherson and preps for living off the land. He also describes a story of deaths caused by eating poised white whale.

During my stay at Fort Macpherson I was the guest of Major Jarvis. The rest of the policemen occupied the barracks on top of the high bluffs that here flank the eastern side of the Peel, but the Major preferred a tent by himself down by the riverside. Soon after our arrival, the Eskimo boats began to come from the North and the Major's tent became the center of a village of their tents. Most of the Eskimo were old friends among whom I had lived on my previous expedition. There was much talking and laughter, and apparently they were very glad to see me, but no more glad, I am sure, than I was to see them, for I had reason to consider some of them among my best friends in the world. Under their communistic system of living the Eskimo have developed the social virtues to a considerably higher degree than we have; they are therefore people easy to live with, and one readily makes friends among them, but, of course, they differ individually as we do. Of all those who came here this summer the finest, in my estimation, was Ovayuak, a man who had been my host for several months during 1906–1907. The Hudson's Bay Company had recognized in him the same qualities which were apparent to me, and had accordingly made him a “Chief,” which merely means that he is the Company's accredited representa tive among his countrymen , and acts, in a sense, as the Company's agent. In talking with Ovayuak I found that many of my acquaintances of a few years before were dead, some of them of consumption, some of unknown diseases, and a group of eight had been poisoned by eating the meat of a freshly killed white whale. It happens every now and then that a whole party of natives is killed by eating white whale meat. This sort of thing is referred to by the whalers ordinarily as ptomaine poisoning; but it can scarcely be that, as I have seen tons of semi- decayed whale meat eaten and have never known a single case of sickness or death connected therewith, while the poisonings always occur at feasts which are held immediately after the killing of a whale, or else from whale meat that has been cut up promptly after the killing and stored so as to largely or entirely prevent its decay. On the lower posts of the Mackenzie River and here at Mac pherson we had gradually been picking up such dogs as were for sale, and now had eleven all together. So as to put in operation as early as possible our principle of living on the country, we began here to set our fish nets to get food for ourselves and the dogs, but there were so many other nets in the water that we got very little, and I had to buy a few hundred pounds of dried fish to eke out.


We reached the open ocean July 23d, but were delayed here somewhat by strong winds, for, like the delta flats of any other river, the Mackenzie mouth is an exceedingly dangerous place in a high wind, when mountainous breakers roll in from the open sea. On the 24th we reached the first Eskimo camp on the coast, at a place called Niakonak, just after the sudden death of a woman and young girl from white whale poisoning. This is another of the cases I have since heard referred to by mounted policemen and whalers as ptomaine poisoning. But the Eskimo explain it by saying that the women died because they made some caribou skin into garments the day after they ate white whale. In other words, they had broken a taboo. Personally, I agree neither with the policemen nor the Eskimo. It seems to me the poisoning could scarcely have been ptomaine, because the meal after which the women sickened took place within three or four hours after the animal was killed; in fact, the pieces of meat were put right into the pot the moment they were cut from the animal.

Aug 15, 1909

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

My Life with the Eskimo - Chapter 3

GreatWhiteOncomingSquare.jpg

Stefansson complains about a man who wouldn't lend him matches to survive off of hunting alone. "We could not agree on the possibility of a white man making a living in the country . I told him that I needed but matches to be safe and independent, but he believed that a white man needed twelve months' provisions of white man's food in order to live twelve months in the country."

My opinion agreed with that of no one else with regard to the prospects for the coming winter. It seemed to me the condition was nowise serious. I had lived with the Eskimo the year before and had seen what an abundance of fish there was in the eastern channels of the Mackenzie delta, and I knew that fish and caribou were also plentiful farther east. But the whalers had never seen Eskimo living any where except around whaling ships and dependent on them; neither had the mounted police, and, consequently, it seemed to all of them that the district was facing a period of starvation. For myself and my party I did not worry however, except for one thing, — that I had no matches. When by the 15th of August it began to seem likely that no ships would come, I went to the mounted police and explained to them that I had everything that I considered necessary for making a living for myself and my party in the country with the exception of matches, and asked them to give, lend, or sell my party a sufficient quantity to do us the winter. This the commanding officer, Sergeant Fitzgerald , refused to do. He told me that if I would discharge all my Eskimo ( I had then engaged a party of nine all told) , and if Dr. Anderson and I would live for the winter in a small house which he would assign to us near the barracks, then he would supply us with not only matches, but also everything that we needed to eat. It was in vain I explained to him that we had not come to the country for the purpose of spending a winter at Herschel Island. His point of view was that he did not know or care why we had come, but he did know that we were now destitute and likely to die of starvation, and it was his duty to supply us, in a way that suited him, with sufficient food to keep us from actual want. We could not agree on the possibility of a white man making a living in the country. I told him that I needed but matches to be safe and independent, but he believed that a white man needed twelve months' provisions of white man's food in order to live twelve months in the country. He pointed out that according to his view one of two things was sure to happen if he gave us matches : either we should go to the eastward as far as the most easterly civilized settlement, four hundred miles to the eastward at the Baillie Islands, and there become a charge upon those natives, — in other words, we were in competent to look after ourselves, and so would have to be taken care of by the Baillie Islands Eskimo, -or, in the other event, if we unwisely left the Baillie Islands settlement behind and went into the uninhabited district, we should surely starve to death , and he did not want, as an officer of the Government, to be a party to either event. He further informed me that the laws of the Yukon gave him a right to ship Dr. Anderson and me out of the country because we had no visible means of support. But, he said, seeing he could accomplish the same result by refusing us matches, he would prefer that method, and let us go west to Point Barrow for them. He knew that we would then winter at Point Barrow , where the whaling station has abundant stores, and where we should be in no danger of starving.

Sep 1, 1909

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

My Life with the Eskimo - Chapter 4

GreatWhiteOncomingSquare.jpg

Stefansson explains how the herds of caribou have been exterminated from Alaska to the detriment of all.

I had been compelled to come to Point Barrow for the lack of matches, but now that I was there I needed a great many other things, for the season was so short that I could not possibly get east to the Mackenzie River before the freeze -up. Instead of being able to winter in a region well supplied with fish and game, as I should have been had I obtained matches at Herschel Island, I was now compelled to winter on the northern coast of Alaska, where ten years before there had been vast herds of caribou , but where there now is practically no game at all. The let-alone policy of the Government, the cupidity of traders, and the ignorance of the Eskimo themselves have practically destroyed the caribou as the buffalo was destroyed in our own West. The situation here, however, was fundamentally different. In the West the destruction of the buffalo was a necessity, for he cumbered the land which the farmers needed for the planting of crops; but the caribou graze on lands where no crops will ever grow. Shooting buffalo for their hides and for sport destroyed them a few yearsbefore they would have had to go anyway; but the shooting of the caribou for the same reasons cannot be similarly extenuated, for had no more been killed than were needed for food and clothing for the population of the country itself, they would have lasted in definitely, and would have been forever an economic resource not only for the Eskimo but for the country at large. 


As there could be no hope of our party “living on the country ” the coming winter, I had to buy from the whaling vessels food enough to take us through twelve months. I had no money, for I expected to buy nothing in the Arctic, but fortunately, several of the whaling captains knew me and realized the circumstances; I had there fore no trouble in getting what I needed.

Sep 17, 1909

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

My Life with the Eskimo - Chapter 5

GreatWhiteOncomingSquare.jpg

Stefansson explains the whaling economy of the Point Barrow Eskimo "The employer supplies them with cloth for garments, and such suitable provisions as flour, tea, beans, rice, and even condensed milk, canned meats and fruits."

On September 17th we considered that the sea ice was probably strong enough for sled travel. The ice of Smith Bay had been strong enough for several days, but we feared and with good reason I am sure that east of Smith Bay the coast would still be open. In the afternoon of the 17th Ilavinirk and I took a small sled-load with the idea of going to Point Pitt at the eastern end of the Bay, to cache it there and to find out if conditions were propitious. We did not get quite that far, for about ten miles southwest of Point Pitt, well within Simpson Bay, we saw an Eskimo camp pitched on ground that rises about twenty feet above the sea at the mouth of a small creek that comes out of a well-known fishing lake lying a few miles inland. 


This camp turned out to be returned traders who had been to the Colville and even to Flaxman Island to exchange ammunition, flour, tea, cloth, and other commodities —which they get cheaply at Point Barrow — for skins of caribou, mountain sheep and foxes. At Point Barrow these men work for the Cape Smythe Whaling & Trading Company, and for other white and Eskimo whalers. Some of the Eskimo at Point Barrow now carry on whaling on a large scale, maintaining as many as five or six boat crews. Irrespective of whether their employers are white or Eskimo, these men get each year as wages about two hundred dollars' worth of supplies. This means that the Point Barrow community leads an easier life than any other community does as a whole in any land where I have ever traveled . The whaling season in the spring is six weeks, and it is six weeks of fairly easy work at that. For all the rest of the year the men have nothing to do, are their own masters, and can go wherever they like, while their employers must not only pay them a year's wage for six weeks' work, but also furnish them houses to live in, usually, and rations for the entire year. Of course the men are expected to get their own fresh meat, which they do by seal and walrus hunting, and by cutting in the whales, —only the bone (balleen) of which goes to their employers. The employer supplies them with cloth for garments, and such suitable provisions as flour, tea, beans, rice, and even condensed milk, canned meats and fruits. Each man each year gets, among other things, a new rifle with loading tools and ammunition. The result is that firearms are probably nowhere in the world cheaper than they are at Point Barrow (or at least were, up to 1908) . When I first came to Point Barrow you could buy a new Winchester rifle of any type, with loading tools, five hundred rounds or so of smokeless powder ammunition, and a considerable quantity of powder, lead, and primers for five dollars in money; had you bought the same articles wholesale at the factory in New Haven, the price would have been in the neighborhood of twenty dollars. There are few Eskimo who will use a rifle more than one year. They will no more think of using a last year's rifle than our well-to-do women will consider wearing a hat of last year's fashion, and you see rifles and shotguns, which our most fastidious sportsmen would consider good as new, lying around on the beach, thrown away by Eskimo who have no realization of their value because of the ease with which they have ways obtained them in the past. The reason for all this is that whaling was, until a few years ago, so fabulously profitable an industry that the whaling companies cared scarcely at all what they paid for services as long as they got the whales. But now that the price of whalebone has suddenly gone down through the invention of a substitute, the Eskimo are facing a new era and the change will be hard on them. 


The pay-day of the Point Barrow Eskimo comes in the spring, and their employer hands them out rifles, ammunition, cloth, provisions, and various things which the people scarcely know what to do with . So they load them into their skin boats and take them east along the coast, to sell them at any point in the Colville or at Flax man Island. To give some idea of the scale of prices it is worth while to say that one of the men whom we met returned with ten deerskins, which was all he had received in the Colville River for a boat-load of supplies consisting of two new rifles, two cases of smoke less powder ammunition for these, twenty -five pounds of powder and a corresponding supply of lead and shot, three bolts of cloth, a case of, carpenter tools, some camp gear, three hundred pounds of flour, sixty pounds of good tea, two boxes of tobacco, and various other articles too numerous to mention. The ten caribou skins were of varying quality. The best of them were worth that year about five dollars apiece, and the total value of the ten skins could not have been more than thirty dollars. In other words, had this same Eskimo stayed at Point Barrow during the summer and been able to board a whaling ship with thirty dollars in his pocket, he could have bought ten deerskins of a corresponding quality, had they been carried by the ship, — although of course the ships carry only fairly good skins, averaging much better than the ten which he had secured in the Colville

Sep 27, 1909

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

My Life with the Eskimo - Chapter 5

GreatWhiteOncomingSquare.jpg

Stefansson explains how the Eskimos were dependent upon the caribou.

In going eastward, September 27th, we found the ice off the mouth of the Colville still too thin for safe travel, and we had to go along the shore, thus nearly doubling our traveling distance, for the land has many and deep bights. We were able to shoot a few seal, and to get a ptarmigan, gull, or a duck now and then. We were in no danger of shortage of food, for our load consisted of over two hundred pounds of provisions, besides the ammunition and camp gear. The ducks and gulls, we noticed, were all traveling west parallel to the coast. 


Just east of the Colville, at a point known to white men and Eskimo alike as Oliktok, but which on charts is called Beachy Point, we had luck in seeing a band of caribou. There were nine of them, and between Ilavinirk, Kunaluk, and me we got seven. This was the first time in my experience that I had shot at caribou with Eskimo, and it was probably the first time in the experience of these Eskimo that they had ever seen a caribou killed by a white man. Ilavinirk and Kunaluk, accordingly, had some amusing arguments about the matter later on. They had agreed that neither one of them would shoot at a big bull caribou until the others had been killed, because he was sure to be poor and his skin would be less valuable than that of the younger animals; nevertheless the bull was dead now , and Ilavinirk said that I had killed it; but Kunaluk said that could not be, and that one of them must have killed it by a stray shot, although admittedly neither of them had aimed at it. Ilavinirk and Kunaluk had never hunted caribou together before, and we learned later that Kunaluk considered he himself had killed most of these caribou, and that I had certainly killed none and it was doubtful whether Ilavinirk had killed any or not. But it was Eskimo custom and by it he was willing to abide — that when three men shoot at a band of caribou, the booty shall be divided equally among the three. This did not suit me particularly, however, as I had been feeding and taking care of Kunaluk for some time, and I pointed out to him that by white men's custom all the animals belonged to me. I told him, however, that I was willing to concede the point only in the matter of the skins and would keep all of the meat. 


We stopped a day to make a platform cache for the meat, and that day Kunaluk, unaided, killed another caribou, so that we had the meat of eight to leave behind in cache. Three of the animals were skinned as specimens, and are now, with many others, in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. These are the first skins of caribou taken for scientific purposes on the north coast of Alaska east of Point Barrow. 


On October 8th, just west of the mouth of the Kuparuk River, I went inland alone and killed a young bull caribou which even Kunaluk did not dispute had been shot by me. We had seen a band of caribou in another direction in the morning, and Ilavinirk and Kunaluk had gone after them, but with no success. In the afternoon, however, the three of us together killed another bull caribou, so that at the mouth of the Kuparuk also we were able to leave behind a cache of meat. These we expected to be useful some time later in the winter when we should come back over the same trail. 


The low, coastal plain of northern Alaska is triangular in shape, with its apex at Point Barrow, perhaps two hundred miles north from the base, which is formed by the east and west running Alaskan spur of the Rocky Mountains, which comes within a few miles of the coast in eastern Alaska at the international boundary and meets the ocean in western Alaska at Cape Lisburne. This plain is so nearly level that in most places it is not possible , in going inland , to determine offhand whether you are going up hill or down. The rivers are all sluggish, but thirty or forty miles inland most of them run between fairly high banks, which shows that the land does slope up , even though imperceptibly, towards the foothills. Just east of the Colville River at Oliktok, the mountains are probably about eighty miles inland. As you proceed eastward along the coast they be come visible from near the mouth of the Kuparuk. Continuing east ward they get steadily nearer the coast, and apparently higher, until their distance from the sea is not more than six or eight miles at Demarcation Point, while their highest places are probably about ten thousand feet in elevation and lie southward from Flaxman and Barter islands, where they contain a few small glaciers. 


This whole coastal plain was a few years ago an immense caribou pasture and inhabited by hundreds of Eskimo who lived mostly on the meat of the caribou. Of late years the country has been depopulated through the disappearance of the caribou. This fact explains the United States census returns as to the population of northern Alaska. To any one ignorant of the facts, the census figures seem to prove that the population of northern Alaska has remained stationary during the last two or three decades. This is so far from being true that I am certain the population is not over ten per cent now of what it was in 1880. The trouble arises from the fact that the census covered only the coastal strip. The village of Cape Smythe contained probably about four hundred inhabitants in 1880, and contains about that to -day. But only four persons are now living who are considered by the Eskimo themselves to belong to the Cape Smythe tribe, and only twenty or twenty-one others who are descended from the Cape Smythe tribe through one parent. The fact is that the excessive death rate of the last thirty years would have nearly wiped out the village but for the fact that the prosperity of the whaling industry there year by year brought in large numbers of immigrants; so that while thirty years ago it was safe to say that seventy five per cent of the four hundred Eskimo at Cape Smythe must have been of that tribe, no more than seven per cent can now be considered to belong to it . The difference is made up by the immigrants, who, according to their own system of nomenclature, belong to a dozen or more tribes, and hail from districts as far apart as St. Lawrence Island in Bering Sea, and the mouth of the Mackenzie River in Arctic Canada,while the majority come from inland and from the headwaters of the Colville, Noatak, and Kuvuk rivers. It seems that the inland Eskimo, who by their head-form and other physical characteristics show clearly their admixture of Alaskan Indian blood, are more hardy than the coast people, or at least are less susceptible to the half dozen or so particularly deadly diseases which the white men of recent years have introduced. But hereafter the census figures will begin to be more truthful, for now the northern interior of Alaska is all deserted , and no recruits can come down from the mountains to fill in the vacant places left by diseases among the coastal Eskimo. 


It was the vanishing of the caribou from the interior coastal plain that drove down the Eskimo to the coast, and now it seems that the caribou are having a slight chance, for in large districts where for merly they had to face the hunter, their only enemy is now the wolf. Temperamentally, the Eskimo expects to find everything next year as he found it last year; consequently the belief died hard that the foothills were inexhaustibly supplied with caribou. But when starvation had year after year taken off families by groups, the Eskimo finally realized that the caribou in large numbers were a thing of the past ; and they were so firmly impressed with the fact, that now they are assured that no caribou are in the interior, as they once thought they would be there forever. 


One result of this temperamental peculiarity was this, that during the winter of 1908-1909 there were numerous families huddled around Flaxman Island (where, as it turned out, the Rosie H. was wintering) with the idea that it was impossible for them to get caribou for food or for clothing, while we went inland to where every one said there was no game, and were able to live well. Our own small party that winter in northern Alaska killed more caribou than all the rest of the Eskimo of the country put together, because we had the faith to go and look for them where the Eskimo “knew” they no longer existed .