Archaeological evidence indicates that by the 1820s, the Kigirktaugmiut of Herschel Island had trade goods from Russia. They travelled annually to Barter Island in Alaska with furs, sealskins, and oil which they traded with the Alaskan Inuvialuit for iron, knives, and beads. The Inuvialuit of Herschel Island were quite familiar with European trade goods even though they were unfamiliar with the peoples and their cultures.

An Inuvialuit, Nuligak, remembered his first encounter with white men when he was a young boy,

"The sailors we met always had something in their mouths, something they chewed. It so intrigued me that I kept staring at their jaws. One certain day that 'thing' was given to me. I chewed - it was delicious. It was chewing gum. From that day I was able to
recognize some of these white men's things.

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