ME982X.329.1-2 | Model lamp and cooking pot

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Model lamp and cooking pot
Anonyme - Anonymous
Central Arctic
About 1915, 20th century
Stone? Clay?
1.2 x 2.1 x 6.5 cm
Gift of J. J. O'Neill
© McCord Museum
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Keys to History

Many members of the scientific staff of the Canadian Arctic Expedition, 1913-18, were officers of the Geological Survey of Canada, working under the direction of the Department of the Naval Service. Because the expedition was mandated to work in two distinct regions at some distance from each other, it was divided into two parties, a southern and a northern party.

J. J. O'Neill (1886-1965) was a geologist with the Southern Party of the Canadian Arctic Expedition, 1913-18, along with ethnologist Diamond Jenness and several others, including the director, R. M. Anderson. The Southern Party mandate was to undertake a three-year study of the Arctic mainland and the adjacent islands. O'Neill's report on the geology of the Arctic coast of Canada was published in 1924. And in 1922 Diamond Jenness published his report on the Kilusiktormiut (Coronation Gulf, Northwest Territories), among whom he had lived for three years. The Northern Party, directed by Vilhjálmur Stefánsson, travelled around the Beaufort Sea and Arctic Archipelago. This expedition ended in disaster when the ship the men were traveling on, the Karluk, was crushed in the ice and eleven of them died.

  • What

    This lamp and pot are models of two very important Inuit household items. A stone lamp provided not only light during the long winter days, but also warmth inside snow houses. The lamp, which sat on a cooking platform and contained lit seal or whale oil, was used to heat the cooking pot. Since sources of soapstone were rare, many Inuit obtained their lamps and pots through trade with other Inuit groups.

  • Where

    These models were collected in the vicinity of Victoria Island. The eastern two-thirds of the island is located in Nunavut, the western part is in the Northwest Territories.

  • When

    This model pot and model lamp were collected in 1915 by J. J. O'Neill.

  • Who

    This model lamp and cooking pot were made by Kaijoranna, an Inuit from Victoria Island. They were collected by ethnologist Diamond Jenness, a member of the 1913-18 Canadian Arctic Expedition, and later given to J. J. O'Neill. Diamond Jenness published a report on the Kilusiktormiut in 1922.