Exploration in the Canadian Arctic [Inuktitut Version]

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Hudson Bay Co. and Revillon Freres pilots aboard steamer "S.S. Adventure", Fort Chimo (Kuujjuaq), Ungava Bay, 1909
Hugh A. Peck
1909, 20th century
Silver salts - Gelatin silver process
7.6 x 13.3 cm
Gift of Mr. Richard H. Peck
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  informal (1120) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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Keys to History

As early as the 16th century, European explorers were in contact with the Inuit. By the 19th century, encounters had become quite frequent. Over the years, the Inuit helped many missionaries, fur traders and explorers. They showed the Europeans how to survive in the Arctic, how to travel by dogsled, how to dress and how to build igloos. The Inuit also provided all kinds of advice on coastal navigation in northern waters. In the 19th century, they acted as guides for European fishermen. As they were familiar with the region, they helped explorers fill in their maps and charts. They also travelled on ships as pilots, a practice that became common and continued into the 20th century, as can be seen by this photograph showing four Inuit pilots on the upper deck of a steamer in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company.

  • What

    The S.S. Adventure, on which this picture was taken, was a solid steamship used for sealing by Harvey and Co. in the early 20th century.

  • Where

    Kuujjuaq (known as Fort Chimo at the time the picture was taken) is on Ungava Bay, in northernmost Quebec, near the Koksoak River.

  • When

    In 1830 the Hudson's Bay Company set up a trading post there to stimulate the fur trade.

  • Who

    Révillon Frères, which employed some Inuit pilots, was a Paris fur company. It was bought out by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1936.