Historical Events

Christian Klengenberg, a Dane born in 1869, signs on as a cook to travel the world and ends up exploring the Arctic in 1893, where he meets the Eskimos, learns their language and customs, and decides to marry a young Inupiat woman. He hunts bowhead whales and lives off the land and finds traces of the Northern Copper Inuit whom he would later visit.

The Northern Copper Inuit - A History

"In 1893, he sailed on the Emily Schroeder, which traveled through the Bering Strait to the Inupiat(North Alaskan) community of Point Hope(Tikigaq). The purpose of the expedition was to trade with the Inupiat along the North Alaskan coast. Members of the expedition built a small trading post near the community of Point Hope and settled down for the long arctic winter. It was Klengenberg's first exposure to the Arctic and it is apparent in his autobiography that he relished the northern life. During the winter of 1893/1894, Klengenberg spent most of his time with the young Inupiat men from the village, whose company he preferred "over the dull adults for whom I cooked at the trading post"(Klengenberg 1932:90). Klengenberg also courted and eventually married a young Inupiat woman, Gremnia(Qimniq), with whom he had eight children.


"In summertime, the boats plied the Beaufort sea hunting bowheads. Klengenberg had planned to return immediately to Point Hope, but he could not resist the temptation of signing on as a whaler aboard the Mary D. Hume. He thus spent the summer whaling in the Beaufort Sea. At one point, the ship anchored off Banks Island to take on fresh meat and Klengenberg was among those who disembarked. While walking on the tundra, he spotted footprints and concluded they had been made the same summer. Klengengberg was excited at the possibility that there were unknown bands of Inuit on Banks Island. 

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