Historical Events

For untold centuries ... the Eskimo of the far north had solely a carnivorous diet ... He was healthy ... He suffered from neither tuberculosis nor any venereal disease; and had rheumatism, if at all, in a limited degree.

Seventeen Years with the Eskimos

 After a preliminary year at Cape Prince of Wales northwestern Alaska, the Greists reached the state's northern tip, Barrow, in 1921, and remained in charge of Farthest North Hospital and the mission till 1936. After their retirement they lived at Monticello, Indiana, where Dr. Greist wrote Seventeen Years with the Eskimos. He died in 1955 and in 1957 Mrs. Greist lent me the manuscript of the unpublished book. The Indiana physician found Alaska's most northern Eskimos no longer uncivilized, and no longer healthy. But from conversations with Charles DeWitt Brower, who had lived at Barrow since 1885, and with a few elderly Eskimos, some of whom still remembered Maguire and Simpson (and many of whom remembered Ray and Murdoch) — from conversations with these, and from other sources, the Greists became convinced that there had formerly been a high average of health and longevity among the northern Eskimos. With Mrs. Greist's permission I quote from Chapter 24 of Dr. Greist's manuscript:

“For untold centuries ... the Eskimo of the far north had solely a carnivorous diet ... He was healthy ... He suffered from neither tuberculosis nor any venereal disease; and had rheumatism, if at all, in a limited degree. Barring accidents, starvation during lean years, and epidemics of unknown character, he lived to a very great age with his teeth intact, but worn to the gums since he used his teeth as a third hand ... When starches and sugars were introduced by the whalers and the traders he at once began the development of carious teeth, something he never had previously.”

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