Map of the Northern Party's explorations in 1914 and 1915

Maps of the Canadian Arctic Expedition Northern Party explorations in 1914 and 1915.

Canada Museum of Civilization

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation


Map of the Northern Party's explorations in 1916 and 1917

Map of the Northern Party of the Canadian Arctic Expedition's explorations in 1916 and 1917.

Canada Museum of Civilization

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation


Map of the Northern Party's explorations in 1918

Map of the Northern Party of the Canadian Arctic Expedition's explorations in 1918.

Canada Museum of Civilization

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation


La mission de l'équipe nord de l'Expédition canadienne dans l'Arctique est de découvrir des « terres nouvelles ». Le « commandant » Vihjalmur Stefansson doit explorer au nord de l'Alaska et de la terre continentale canadienne et au-delà des îles connues de l'ouest de l'Arctique. Se déplaçant sur des banquises à la dérive, conduisant des attelages de chiens ou naviguant à bord de petites goélettes durant la courte saison estivale d'eaux libres, l'équipe nord parcourt plusieurs milliers de kilomètres à travers des îles jamais vues auparavant, même par les Inuits.

En septembre 1913, alors que le Karluk est entraîné vers la Sibérie, Stefansson se retrouve privé de son navire amiral, d'une bonne partie de ses hommes et de la plupart de ses provisions et de son équipement. Pour mener à bien sa mission, Stefansson rachète des provisions puis engage d'autres hommes d'équipage ainsi que des gens provenant de plusieurs localités situées le long du littoral arctique, des hommes comme chasseurs et des femmes comme couturières, afin d'aider au travail des deux équipes de l'Expédition canadienne dans l'Arctique.
La mission de l'équipe nord de l'Expédition canadienne dans l'Arctique est de découvrir des « terres nouvelles ». Le « commandant » Vihjalmur Stefansson doit explorer au nord de l'Alaska et de la terre continentale canadienne et au-delà des îles connues de l'ouest de l'Arctique. Se déplaçant sur des banquises à la dérive, conduisant des attelages de chiens ou naviguant à bord de petites goélettes durant la courte saison estivale d'eaux libres, l'équipe nord parcourt plusieurs milliers de kilomètres à travers des îles jamais vues auparavant, même par les Inuits.

En septembre 1913, alors que le Karluk est entraîné vers la Sibérie, Stefansson se retrouve privé de son navire amiral, d'une bonne partie de ses hommes et de la plupart de ses provisions et de son équipement. Pour mener à bien sa mission, Stefansson rachète des provisions puis engage d'autres hommes d'équipage ainsi que des gens provenant de plusieurs localités situées le long du littoral arctique, des hommes comme chasseurs et des femmes comme couturières, afin d'aider au travail des deux équipes de l'Expédition canadienne dans l'Arctique.

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

Black and white video of the Karluk's bow breaking ice

The bow view of the Karluk, seen while ice-breaking.

Contact the Archives of the Canadian Museum of Civilization for more information.

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation


The First Ice Drift

Setting out north across the Beaufort Sea ice, Stefansson's first exploration party left Collinson Point in March 1914, three sleds heading out into an area where new land had been reported. They intended to drift with the moving ice for several months before landing at Banks or Prince Patrick Island. After drifting though the area where "Keenan Land" was thought to be, Stefansson and his companions, Ole Andreasen and Storker Storkersen, travelled across the ice to Banks Island, arriving in late June after 96 days and 800 km of travel.

Kellett Base

Late in the summer of 1914, George Wilkins, expedition photographer, took the schooner Mary Sachs from Herschel Island to Banks Island with supplies for Stefansson's Party. Stefansson joined them in September after a summer of hunting on Banks Island. The Northern Party spent the early winter of 1914-1915 at the base established by Wilkins near Cape Kellett, known then as the "Kellett Base," now known as Mary Sachs.

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The First Ice Drift

Setting out north across the Beaufort Sea ice, Stefansson's first exploration party left Collinson Point in March 1914, three sleds heading out into an area where new land had been reported. They intended to drift with the moving ice for several months before landing at Banks or Prince Patrick Island. After drifting though the area where "Keenan Land" was thought to be, Stefansson and his companions, Ole Andreasen and Storker Storkersen, travelled across the ice to Banks Island, arriving in late June after 96 days and 800 km of travel.

Kellett Base

Late in the summer of 1914, George Wilkins, expedition photographer, took the schooner Mary Sachs from Herschel Island to Banks Island with supplies for Stefansson's Party. Stefansson joined them in September after a summer of hunting on Banks Island. The Northern Party spent the early winter of 1914-1915 at the base established by Wilkins near Cape Kellett, known then as the "Kellett Base," now known as Mary Sachs.

Mary Sachs

The schooner Mary Sachs, under the command of Wilkins, with a crew that included Captain Peter Bernard, James Crawford, Levi Baur, Charles Thomsen (with his wife Jennie and daughter Annie), and Natkusiak (also known as "Billy Banksland"), reached Banksland in late August, was unloaded and hauled onto the low sandy beach. The men began building a sod hut, which became the winter base for the Northern Party for 1914-1915. The remnants of this hut and others built by the men are still visible today on the beach near Mary Sachs Creek.

Mail Order

Letter from Baur to Stefansson Dec 1914. Baur was guarding a cache of caribou meat at a hunting camp, Storkersen was trapping foxes, Stefansson was at the base camp at Mary Sachs ("Cape Kellett").

Mr. Stefansson
BanksL

Dec 2 - 1914

Mr. Stefansen;

Billy arrived at 11:30 Thompson left here the next morning for Storgensen Many Wolves here every night no foxes I wounded 2 wolves it has been blowing a hurricane since past 3 days am short of fuel Enough to last tomorrow. Will you kindly have sent the following Distilate Coal Oil 1 pr Deer skin pants cocoa primer needle Laxative Pills 1 Deck of Cards. 1 wolf only has touched the meat He was there only a few minutes at 6 AM today I have written the Walker Bay Esquimo statement 6 pages Hope you are all well at home

Respectfully
W.J. Baur

[Source: National Archives of Canada MG30 B17: Vol. 1 page 2 Book 1]

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Black and white photo of a CAE sled

CAE sled 1914.

Canadian Museum of Nature
1914
© Canadian Museum of Nature


Black and white photo of the Mary Sachs

Unloading the Mary Sachs at Cape Kellett, stern of ship on shore, Banks Island, N.W.T.

Canada Museum of Civilization
1914-09-01
GHW 50854
© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation


New Lands

Early in 1915 the advance exploration parties began travelling north from Banks Island by dog sled over the sea ice, between the Arctic islands, supporting themselves by hunting seals, caribou, and muskoxen. The men and women of Stefansson's Northern Party established new winter camps on Melville Island; from there smaller parties explored and discovered new lands as far north as 79o North. The major islands discovered in 1915 were Brock and Borden Islands (and what is now Mackenzie King Island). With Stefansson in the discovery party were Andreasen, Storkersen, and Thomsen.

Stefansson came south to Kellett Base in the summer of 1915 and purchased yet another ship, the schooner Polar Bear. Meanwhile Wilkins and North Star assisted the Southern Party before they headed to the northwest coast of Banks Island. Polar Bear wintered at Armstrong Point on Victoria Island. From there Storkersen travelled east along Victoria Island's northern coast, mapping parts of the coastline for the first time.

"Two successful maternity cases had occurred at Kellett! Thomsen had another son [actually the 1 Read More
New Lands

Early in 1915 the advance exploration parties began travelling north from Banks Island by dog sled over the sea ice, between the Arctic islands, supporting themselves by hunting seals, caribou, and muskoxen. The men and women of Stefansson's Northern Party established new winter camps on Melville Island; from there smaller parties explored and discovered new lands as far north as 79o North. The major islands discovered in 1915 were Brock and Borden Islands (and what is now Mackenzie King Island). With Stefansson in the discovery party were Andreasen, Storkersen, and Thomsen.

Stefansson came south to Kellett Base in the summer of 1915 and purchased yet another ship, the schooner Polar Bear. Meanwhile Wilkins and North Star assisted the Southern Party before they headed to the northwest coast of Banks Island. Polar Bear wintered at Armstrong Point on Victoria Island. From there Storkersen travelled east along Victoria Island's northern coast, mapping parts of the coastline for the first time.

"Two successful maternity cases had occurred at Kellett! Thomsen had another son [actually the 1st] and Storkerson a daughter, all well."
(George Wilkins diary, August 17, 1915)

December 25, 1915, west coast of Banks Island

"A fairly early start was made this morning, and we headed for the first point on account of the darkness. We had a train of nine dogs, as did Thomsen, but we did not make very good time. The weather continued cloudy and dark, and we went considerably from our course. We crossed over the point north of Wilkins River, but then headed too far out to sea and eventually built a snow house about a mile from Bernard Island. We travelled for 9 1/2 hours, and the dogs were very tired.

Sunday, December 26th

Each successive Christmas brings a different experiment. I hardly expected to walk and carry my Christmas dinner 30 miles and then build a house to eat it in on Christmas day, but that is about what happened this year. However we made a very comfortable snow house and had boiled beans for dinner, with coffee, and went to bed without fearing that we should have gout."

(Wilkins Diary, December 25, 26, 1915)

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

Black and white photo of a hunting camp

A hunting camp and Billy Natkusiak, a few miles inland from Cape Kellett, Banks Island, N.W.T.

Canada Museum of Civilization
1915-09-23
GHW 51091
© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation


More New Land

Ignoring the official request that the CAE leave the Arctic in 1916, Stefansson prolonged his stay and the Northern Party continued searching beyond the northern islands in 1916. The advance party started off from the North Star camp on northern Banks Island in late January, arriving on Melville Island in April, and Borden Island in May. From Kellett, Stefansson reached Mercy Bay in early April en route to Melville, Brock, Borden and Ellef Ringnes Islands. The men (Emiu, Noice, Knight, and Stefansson) discovered the "Second Land", later named Meighen Island, and the third "New Land", part of which was later named Lougheed Island. They retreated to the camp at Cape Grassy, Melville Island in September and wintered there. The people left at Mary Sachs that winter were Bernard, Knight, Thomsen and his family, and four Inuit.

In December 1916 Peter Bernard and Charles Thomsen set off from Kellett base for Melville Island with three heavily loaded sleds, carrying mail and supplies for Stefansson’s northern party. They never arrived.

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More New Land

Ignoring the official request that the CAE leave the Arctic in 1916, Stefansson prolonged his stay and the Northern Party continued searching beyond the northern islands in 1916. The advance party started off from the North Star camp on northern Banks Island in late January, arriving on Melville Island in April, and Borden Island in May. From Kellett, Stefansson reached Mercy Bay in early April en route to Melville, Brock, Borden and Ellef Ringnes Islands. The men (Emiu, Noice, Knight, and Stefansson) discovered the "Second Land", later named Meighen Island, and the third "New Land", part of which was later named Lougheed Island. They retreated to the camp at Cape Grassy, Melville Island in September and wintered there. The people left at Mary Sachs that winter were Bernard, Knight, Thomsen and his family, and four Inuit.

In December 1916 Peter Bernard and Charles Thomsen set off from Kellett base for Melville Island with three heavily loaded sleds, carrying mail and supplies for Stefansson’s northern party. They never arrived.

Winter Camp

"Remained in camp today, S[light]B[reeze] from SE, snowdrifting, unable to travel on account of the women in the party. Capt. Gonzales with Jim Figi arrived at 2 pm. They had seen our trail and followed it to camp. Gonzales reports the death of Jones during our absence from the Polar Bear. He (Capt) left on the 18th, but was storm bound most of the time. Storkerson, Charlie, and Herman were away when he left. He expects them to be back from the Bay of Mercy by now. All well at home except Hadly who has a bruised arm from an encounter with a Polar Bear. The preparations for the ice trip are nearly completed. We spent the day in exchanging news and in watching the natives performing tricks with strings, etc., some are very clever at it. [Weather] SB from SE drifting, clear sky, fairly warm" (Noice Diary, Jan 27, 1916).

Cape Grassy

At Grassy in March were "Gonzales, Knight, Pikalu, Illun, and Ulipsfink, one of the ’Blond’ Eskimos! [Stefansson calls him "Ulipsinna, a Minto Inlet Eskimo".] There were in addition Stefansson, Storkie, Lopez, Split, Natkusiak, Alingnak, Ikiuna, and Guninana, and the three of us [Noice, Castel, Charlie Andersen], making a grand total of sixteen" (Noice 1924).

Christmas on Melville Island 1916

"I got up around 3 o’clock this morning and cooked our breakfast which consisted of oatmeal with butter milk and sugar and coffee with pilot bread. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But it struck the right spot with us for this is the first oatmeal we have tasted for over 9 months. After breakfast I sewed a drill wind break onto Snakes harness. Snakes is one of my very best dogs but as he has short fur is likely to be frozen by these inhospitable blizzards which are ever on our trail. After that I made a box in which to carry my diary and papers. Last summer I had no box and as we had no spare notebooks I was forced to keep my diary loose on the sled and in the sled bag while I mapped the East and South coasts of First Land. A consequence my book looks as if it had been there the whole way. Charlie did the honors for the dinner. Cooking a delicious stew of potatoes and onions with bovril, and a fine dish of pork and potatoes. Peary hit the nail on the head when he said – ’In the Arctic one can make a feast out of anything’." (Harold Noice Diary, December 25, 1916)

Tragedy on Banksland

Aarnout Castel’s diary describes the discovery of the tragedy on the return journey from Melville Island to Banks Island in the spring of 1917. When the sled party (consisting of Castel, Karsten or "Charlie" Andersen, Alingnak and his wife, Guninanna, and Natkusiak and his wife, Ikiuna), reached the north coast of Banks Island in late May, they found two sleds and a note left by Bernard and Thomsen on the 22nd of December 1916. The note indicated that the two were short of food and dogs and had been unable to make the rough ice crossing to Melville Island. While travelling along the north shore of Banks Island, they found Thomsen’s body and the last traces of Peter Bernard.

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

Black and white photo of the members of the CAE Northern Party

Members of CAE Northern Party by flashlight: (back row, from left) Knight, Thomsen, Castel, Noice, (front row) M. Kilian, and Captain P. Bernard, at Kellett Base, Banks Island, N.W.T.

Canada Museum of Civilization
1916-01-01
GHW 51098
© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation


Abandoned

In March 1917 the Northern Party dog sleds again headed north from Melville Island to Borden Island and out into the sea ice. The four-man ice party reached a latitude beyond 80° north before scurvy forced a return in late April. Stefansson's support parties returned south to the Polar Bear at Victoria Island and prepared for their return south. Storkerson extended the mapping of the north coast of Victoria Island beyond his farthest point of 1915. The ice party reached Banks Island in August 1917. After walking across the Island, Stefansson found the Mary Sachs had been re-launched after three years on shore, but had then been abandoned by Captain Gonzales, and badly damaged, leaving the last group with no means of getting south until after freeze-up.

Retreat from the North

When they were some 60 km north of the nearest land, Stefansson sent back the last support party (Storkersen, Castel, Andersen, Pikalu, Natkusiak, and Ikiuna, with 3 sledges and 27 dogs). Food was running out and the groups had to retreat. On Melville Island, Captain Read More
Abandoned

In March 1917 the Northern Party dog sleds again headed north from Melville Island to Borden Island and out into the sea ice. The four-man ice party reached a latitude beyond 80° north before scurvy forced a return in late April. Stefansson's support parties returned south to the Polar Bear at Victoria Island and prepared for their return south. Storkerson extended the mapping of the north coast of Victoria Island beyond his farthest point of 1915. The ice party reached Banks Island in August 1917. After walking across the Island, Stefansson found the Mary Sachs had been re-launched after three years on shore, but had then been abandoned by Captain Gonzales, and badly damaged, leaving the last group with no means of getting south until after freeze-up.

Retreat from the North

When they were some 60 km north of the nearest land, Stefansson sent back the last support party (Storkersen, Castel, Andersen, Pikalu, Natkusiak, and Ikiuna, with 3 sledges and 27 dogs). Food was running out and the groups had to retreat. On Melville Island, Captain Gonzales left the Cape Grassy Camp with Lopez, Alingnak, and Guninana. At the Liddon Gulf camp, he picked up Mrs. Storkersen, Mrs. Lopez and Pannigabluk [and Alex] and took them to the Polar Bear at Victoria Island.

Storkersen's Camp, Version I

Peddie Point, Melville Island. "In midsummer sometime coal was found in considerable aboundance in a talus in a river bed.... At first several days were spent picking up loose coal, but later a vein four or five inches thick was discovered in an accessible place, and the rest eight tons was obtained here by the use of pick axes we carry for making roads through ice pressure ridges. About three tons of this coal was packed to the winter camp, which is on the south side of the same river half way up the valley slope a mile and a half inland and some three miles down stream from the coal.... When the cold weather came on in august a house was built. The main part is about 12 x14 ft. with a raised sleeping platform 12 x 10 at one end and a sleeping alcove 8 x 6 at the door end. The roof is of two thicknesses of muskox hides, about forty hides in all, the hair side out on the inner cover, the hair side in on the outer cover with greased seams, so that the roof is rain proof and practically cold proof."
(Stefansson MSS 98, 4:34 "The Summer Work in Melville Island")

Storkersen's Camp, Version II

"January 12th. Stayed in camp, weather bad again strong wind, drifting. The camp is very crowded, we are here 11 grown persons 3 children and 3 pops [pups] that has to sleep inside a hut 30 x 12 feet besides sleeping bags and skins and meat for 40 dogs that has to be thoughed [thawed] out, I am quite sure that the poorest traper in Canada has a cleaner and better cabin than this hole in the ground witch is now suposed to be headquarters for a government expedition."
(Karsten Anderson Diary, January 12, 1917, National Archives of Canada)

On to Alaska

When a trading schooner, the Challenge, arrived at Kellett Camp, Stefansson bought it and set out after his men. Stefansson caught up to the Polar Bear and reached the mainland in September 1917. Challenge was sold and several men dismissed, allowing Stefansson and the remnants of the Northern Party to depart on the Polar Bear. When the schooner ran aground on Barter Island, Alaska, on the way out to Nome, Stefansson took the opportunity to remain for another winter. His plan was to make another ice trip, drifting across the Beaufort Sea towards Siberia. When illness prevented him from this undertaking, Stefansson put Storkerson in charge of this last ice party, and headed south to recuperate.

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

Black and white photo of a camp on rough ice

Camp on rough ice, 1916?, northern Banks Island, N.W.T.

Canada Museum of Civilization

GHW 51105
© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation


The Last Trip

At Barter Island the support crew on the schooner Polar Bear endured a frustrating summer, including the sinking and repair of their ship, and the drowning death of Pipsuk, an Alaskan Native employee. The Polar Bear and her crew reached Nome in late September 1918, where all were paid off. Storkersen and his four companions completed their five-month ice drift in November, thus ending five years of exploration. Storkersen wintered at Herschel Island and left the Arctic via the Mackenzie River in the spring of 1919.

CAE Northern Party 1913-1918

1914 Beaufort Sea Exploration
Support Party: Bernard, Castel, Crawford, Johansen, McConnell, Wilkins,
Ice Party: Ole Andreasen, Stefansson, Storkersen, Thomsen.

1915 Support Party: Crawford, Natkusiak, Wilkins.
New Land (Brock, Mackenz Read More
The Last Trip

At Barter Island the support crew on the schooner Polar Bear endured a frustrating summer, including the sinking and repair of their ship, and the drowning death of Pipsuk, an Alaskan Native employee. The Polar Bear and her crew reached Nome in late September 1918, where all were paid off. Storkersen and his four companions completed their five-month ice drift in November, thus ending five years of exploration. Storkersen wintered at Herschel Island and left the Arctic via the Mackenzie River in the spring of 1919.

CAE Northern Party 1913-1918

1914 Beaufort Sea Exploration
Support Party: Bernard, Castel, Crawford, Johansen, McConnell, Wilkins,
Ice Party: Ole Andreasen, Stefansson, Storkersen, Thomsen.

1915 Support Party: Crawford, Natkusiak, Wilkins.
New Land (Brock, Mackenzie King) Party: Ole Andreasen, Stefansson, Storkersen, Thomsen.

1916 Support Party (Mary Sachs, Banks Island): Bernard, Knight, Thomsen, Jennie and Annie Thomsen, and "four other eskimos" (Stefansson 1921): Ammagana, Iyituaryuk, and others unknown.
1916 Support Party (Melville Island): Lopez and Uttaktuak, Storkersen's wife and two baby daughters, and "five other eskimos" (Stefansson 1921): Alingnak, Guninana, Ikiuna, Pikalu, Ulipsinna.
1916 Discovery Party: Support Party: Illun, H. Kilian, M. Kilian, Storkersen, Thomsen, Wilkins.
1916 New Land Party: [Karsten] Andersen, Castel, Emiu, Natkusiak, Noice and Stefansson.

1917 Support Party: Andersen, Castel, Illun, Natkusiak, Pikalu, Storkersen, Ulipsinna.
1917 New Land Party: Emiu, Knight, Noice, Stefansson.

1918 Beaufort Sea Ice Party (12 men)
Support Party: [Karsten] Andersen, Castel, Emiu, Illun, H. Kilian, Pikalu, and Fred Wolki.
Ice Party: Gumaer, M. Kilian, Knight, Masik, Storkersen.
Barter Island Camp: support party plus Donahue, Hadley, Pipsuk, Pausanna, Pannigabluk (and son Alex), Shannon and others.

(Information based on Stefansson 1921 and various diaries).

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

Banks Island, also known as Banksland, is the westernmost island of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. With an area of over 70,000 square km, it is the fifth largest island in Canada. In late summer the southern coasts are accessible by sea, though McClure Strait on the north is usually blocked by thick ice.

At the south end of Banks Island is a small plateau of sedimentary and volcanic rocks, from which the bold cliffs of Nelson Head rise to 425 m. In the north, a larger plateau rises sharply from the northeast coast as limestone cliffs. Between the two plateaus is a vast rolling land that rises along the east coast to about 300 m, then slopes gradually to the west coast. This lowland features three major rivers flowing west from the watershed. Sand bars and braided river mouths characterize the low west coast. The largest river, the Thomsen River – named for Charles [Karl] Thomsen, who died during the CAE – flows north to McClure Strait. The few large lakes are all on the east side. The largest one was unofficially named Gonzales Lake by members of the CAE.

Muskoxen, with a population of about 40,000, are the most striking of the abundant wildlife Read More
Banks Island, also known as Banksland, is the westernmost island of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. With an area of over 70,000 square km, it is the fifth largest island in Canada. In late summer the southern coasts are accessible by sea, though McClure Strait on the north is usually blocked by thick ice.

At the south end of Banks Island is a small plateau of sedimentary and volcanic rocks, from which the bold cliffs of Nelson Head rise to 425 m. In the north, a larger plateau rises sharply from the northeast coast as limestone cliffs. Between the two plateaus is a vast rolling land that rises along the east coast to about 300 m, then slopes gradually to the west coast. This lowland features three major rivers flowing west from the watershed. Sand bars and braided river mouths characterize the low west coast. The largest river, the Thomsen River – named for Charles [Karl] Thomsen, who died during the CAE – flows north to McClure Strait. The few large lakes are all on the east side. The largest one was unofficially named Gonzales Lake by members of the CAE.

Muskoxen, with a population of about 40,000, are the most striking of the abundant wildlife on Banks Island, but none was seen on the island during the CAE. Peary caribou, abundant during the CAE, are now in decline and considered a threatened species. Polar bears are common along the coasts and Arctic foxes are numerous throughout the Island. Huge flocks of lesser snow geese nest and moult on the western side. Archaeological sites of different cultural groups are abundant throughout Banks Island.

In 1820, Sir William Parry named "Banksland" for Sir Joseph Banks, explorer and head of the British Royal Society. During the search for Franklin's lost expedition, Robert McClure, commander of HMS Investigator, charted most of the coastline. McClure sailed up the west coast and over to Mercy Bay in 1851, but the ship was abandoned when it was locked into the ice. Investigator was later visited by Inuit from Victoria Island and used for years as a source of wood and iron.

After the exploration of Banks Island between 1915 and 1917 by members of the CAE, aided by local and Alaskan Inuit, and supported by the Expedition schooners Mary Sachs and North Star, the trapping of Arctic foxes drew people to Banksland. During the 1930s and 1940s, known as "The Schooner Days," families travelled from the Mackenzie Delta to Banks Island by schooner to spend the winter trapping at camps along the coasts. Sachs Harbour, on the south coast, the only permanent settlement on the Island, was established as a seasonal trapping village in the early 1950s.

The 1950s saw an increase in scientific and military exploration on Banks Island, and in the 1970s seismic exploration in the northern part resulted in the drilling of several wells. Fox trapping, fishing, and hunting over much of Banks Island remain an important part of life for Bankslanders. Tourism is growing in importance since the establishment of Aulavik National Park on northern Banks Island in 1992. Aulavik means "place where people travel," a reference to both the history and the future of Banks Island.

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • establish the causes and consequences of the Arctic exploration;
  • identify the highlights of the Arctic exploration;
  • assess the impact that Arctic exploration had on Canada (territory, environment, etc.) and the Inuit.

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