Stefansson and the Canadian Arctic by Richard J. Diubaldo

By Richard J. Diubaldo

Stefansson's contributions to arctic exploration are big. He stumbled on the various world's final significant land lots within the Arctic and his hydrographic soundings defined, for the 1st time, the continental shelf from Alaska to Prince Patrick Island and published the submarine mountains and valleys underneath the Beaufort Sea. whereas within the Arctic he lived with the Inuit, studying their conduct and language, and stored a close checklist of early Inuit society. although, a few of Stefansson's deeds, and the reasons in the back of them, garnered much less acclaim. in a single example Stefansson used to be accused of leaving behind send prior to the send used to be overwhelmed within the ice, a heinous act for the chief of an day trip. On one other party, following a disastrous excursion to Wrangel Island within which nice numbers of the celebration died, Stefansson was once accused of intentionally deceptive individuals of the excursion and mendacity in regards to the perils that confronted them. The affair triggered Canada to turn into embroiled with the USA and the Soviet Union, and plenty of argued that Stefansson used to be extra interested by own popularity and fiscal achieve than people's lives. was once Stefansson a prophet or a profiteer, a sufferer or a villain? Stefansson and the Canadian Arctic finds the reality approximately this interesting personality.

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Years later, in 1912, while on his return south from his second arctic expedition, an older (age thirty-two) and wiser Stefansson confided to his diary that he still had failed to find happiness and truth from his work. That May evening, Stefansson sat down and summed up his hapless plight: One reason for keeping one's emotions out of his journal is that anyone with imagination can guess what they are. They need only set before them a dreamer thrown among the hardest realities of our earth, one who longs for sympathy placed among people not unsympathetic but as incapable of seeing the things that he sees as we are of seeing ultra violet light.

9 Accordingly, upon the advice of Putnam, Stefansson insisted that he should go overland to Herschel Island, the American whaling station west of the Mackenzie delta, to conduct certain other projects and commitments of his own. Besides, Stefansson claimed that he did not relish the uncertainty of a sea voyage to the area in question, an attitude that Mikkelsen and Leffingwell were bound to resent. But it was made plain to them that Stefansson's employment was conditional on this, and time was running out.

Stefansson's arctic initiation was over. He now set out to organize another expedition that would be fully his own—to claim his "gold mine" on Victoria Land and to make a name for himself. The fall and winter of 1907 was a period of incubation while plans for his expedition were being crystallized. It was also a time for establishing valuable personal contacts amongst prospective backers and influential individuals in scientific organizations in New York City. Stefansson's ideas were clarified by his articles in Harper's and particularly by such scientific articles as "The Suitability of Eskimo Methods of Winter Travel in Scientific Exploration," published in the Bulletin of the 33 34 CHAPTER THREE American Geographical Society in February 1908.

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