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The Story Of The Canadian Arctic Expedition 1913 - 1918
The People of the CAE: Leaders, Scientists, Captains And Crews, Local Assistants
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Northern Party

4. Local Assistants: Hunters, Guides, Seamstresses etc.

Alingnak, also known as "Freeman," along with his wife Guninanna and their adopted daughter, Topsy Ikiuna, was hired by Stefansson to be a hunter for the Expedition's Northern Party and travelled and hunted with Stefansson and others on Banks and Melville Islands. Both Stefansson and Anderson had worked with Alingnak on their previous expedition. Stefansson "found him to be a cheerful and good companion and not at all lazy, although incapable of hard work through ill health" (Stefansson 1913). For example, Alingnak was not able to travel at top speed: "Alingnak, whose lungs are not the best, had great difficulty in overtaking Eimu." (Stefansson 1921). As a hunter, Alingnak was paid wages of $20 to $75 a month, depending on the work and time of year. Alingnak's father was Iyituaryuk, from the Baillie Islands; he lived in the winter settlement of Nogarvik in 1913 (Stefansson 1913). His grandmother, "the old woman Panigyuk at Baillie Island (mother of Irituorak, 'Rambler')" used to live in one of the whale-skull/sod houses at Langton Bay (R.M. Anderson Diary September 2, 1910).

Descendants named for him include Holman artist Alex Alingnak Banksland, creator of many fine prints.

The seamstress Amaganna was paid $240 for a year's work at Cape Kellett, Banks Island, during the winter of 1916-1917 (Aud. Rept. 1916-1917). We know little about this person. She is not named by either Stefansson or Jenness. It is possible that she was the wife of Iyituaryuk, who also served a year at Cape Kellett (Aud. Rept. 1916-1917).

Ole Andreasen
Ole Andreasen came to Arctic Canada from his native Norway at some point prior to 1912. Stefansson first met Ole in the spring of 1912 near the Mackenzie River (Stefansson 1921 p. 25). In 1914 Diamond Jenness met Andreasen at the house he owned near Barter Island on Alaska's northern coast. Stefansson hired Ole as a member of his first ice exploratory party when they travelled over the ice of the Beaufort Sea to Banks Island in 1914 and 1915. Stefansson praised Andreasen, remarking on his "admirable quality of cheerfulness under all circumstances" and describing him as "the man who next to Storkerson was the best ice traveller I have ever known." (Stefansson 1921)

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Ole Andreasen, shortly after his arrival at base camp near Cape Kellett with Stefansson from their five-month ice-trip, Banks Island, N.W.T. September 13, 1914. GHW 50871. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

Andreasen left the Expedition in 1916. "Ole had sufficient capital to buy a small schooner and start out on the independent trading operations which he belived were destined to make his fortune. He went out with Captain Lane in the Gladiator and I learned later that he eventually purchased that ship." (Stefansson 1921)

Andreasen wintered with the Gladiator near Herschel Island, then headed south to Nome where he sold Gladiator to Daniel Sweeney (former master of Alaska for the CAE) for $2000 in August 1916. "Ole Adreason has decided not to go back north this year, as his brother has not arrived, nor the Polar Bear from which he was to get supplies." (R.M. Anderson Diary Aug. 26, 1916)

By 1918, "Ole Andreasen was now in charge of a trading post at Shingle Point" (Stefansson 1921). In the late 1920s, Andreasen was a trader at Atkinson Point, and encouraged Inuvialuit trappers to go to Banksland. He sold Allen Okpik an outfit and schooner in 1929 (Usher 1971). Ole operated fur trading posts at Atkinson Point from ca.1921 to 1933 and at Richardson Island from 1933 to 1943 (Usher 1971).

"Ole Andreasen was still at Tapkrak [Shingle Point]. But he wanted to establish himself farther east in the Krangmalit country. The same year [1931] the Bay Chimo, the H.B.C.'s big boat, was hurled by the ice onto an ice-pack" (Nuligak/Metayer 1966).

"Ole Andreassen, was a Norwegian who had come from a place not far from where I [Larsen] was born. He had been a member of Stefansson's Expedition... Andreassen now had his own trading post and would have been a well-to-do man had he not been so kind-hearted that he gave away almost everything he had, both to Eskimos and to whites" (Larsen 1967).

RCMP Commissioner Wood suggested that Henry Larsen try to get Ole Andreasen, who was then around sixty-five years old, to join the crew of the RCMP St. Roch for her trip through the Northwest Passage. Ole was flown out from Coronation Gulf to Halifax, where he joined Larsen's crew (Larsen 1967). He was awarded the Polar Medal along with other members of the St. Roch crew (National Archives of Canada RG18 Series G Vol. 3469).

Ole Andreasen is well remembered in the western Arctic today. "Ole Andreasen used to be manager at Atkinson Point. [He was] married to Attugiyuuk. One day [we] had Christmas [at Ole's], and Ole's wife said, in English, Ole, open the nose!" [In Inuvialuktun the word kinguk means nose or nostril and is also used to describe a ventilator] (Edward Ruben, 2002).

Link and Tahoe Washburn visited Ole and his wife Susannah at their home at Richardson Island in February 1941. At that time his son Jasper and his two little girls were living there. "Ole was a quiet, modest man and his description of these extended journeys over unknown sea and lands made them sound quite matter of fact, whereas they were extraordinary." (Washburn 2001, Under Polaris)

"Ole died in Vancouver in 1946 and was buried with full Mounted Police honours" (Larsen 1967).



Photo of David Bernhardt with Ole's Arctic Pilot. Source: David Gray

Captain Matt Andreasen
Matt (or Martin) Andreasen was Ole's brother. Although Matt was never a member of the CAE, he did sell his schooner North Star and provisions to Stefansson. He also owned a shack and provisions at Point Atkinson, N.W.T. Matt Andreasen had a house at Point Atkinson which Jenness on North Star visited in August 1914. Matt was also known as Cheechako Anderson.

James Asaela (Jim Fiji)
Jim Fiji was working for Captain Fritz Wolki on the schooner, Rosie H as a harpooner in 1910 (R.M.Anderson Diary 1910). In 1915 Nuligak refers to Jim living on the schooner, Rosie H. and taking 110 foxes, still employed as a harpooner for one of the the Rosie H.'s whaleboats (Nuligak/Metayer 1966).

Jim Fiji worked for the Northern Party of the CAE from August 1915 to September 1917. He was paid $75 per month with a bonus of $2.50 a day for watching a cache – probably the caribou meat cache on the east coast of Banks Island – for 60 days (Auditor General's Report 1919-20).


Levi Baur and Jim Fiji at doorway of CAE house, Walker Bay, Victoria Island, N.W.T. June 1917. JH 63498. Source: Canadian Museum of Nature

Jim Fiji was still living at Baillie Island in 1925 (Gillingham 1955). Metayer gives the following note on Jim's death: "Jim Fiji, Hawaiian also (with Tom Emsley), stayed in the neighbourhood of Booth. He lived in a shack still visible today. He never married. According to the Eskimos, he was partially blind. In 1925 he disappeared; it is believed that having gone seal hunting out on the sea ice, his poor sight caused him to mistake the black colour of open water for the reflection of land, and he went through the ice" (Nuligak/Metayer 1966).

"Jim stayed at Booth Island, in a little harbour with schooner, called Fiji Island. Nice people. [He was] trapping. After [I don't know how many] years, he drifted out by ice, never came back. Too bad, [he was] getting old too. From Booth Island, between Cape Parry, fifteen miles, [he was] trying to cut across from Booth Island to Cape Parry. Didn't know [about] current, opened ice."
(Interview with Edward Ruben, September 2002, Paulatuk.)


Emiu (Split-the-wind)
Emiu was known also as "Split-the-wind" due to his fondness for fast dogteams. Originally from Nome, and formerly cabin boy on the schooner Polar Bear, Emiu took part in all of the "New Land" sled trips in the Arctic islands between 1916 and 1918 (Stefansson 1921 p. 450, 569).
Emiu had spent two years in Seattle and most of the rest of his life in Nome, Alaska.

"Split was a game little fellow, like a compact bundle of fine steel wires. He had a habit of pulling his belt tight which made him look even more gaunt than he was, and at camp-time he used to delight in talking about the fine beefsteaks we would order when we finally got back to civilization" (Noice 1924).

"Split began it. He told us... how on such a date he had trained the team of racing dogs that won the All Alaska Sweepstakes in so many hours, 'Twenty-three minutes and eighty-nine seconds flat!'" (Noice 1924).

Split was one of several former members of the Canadian Arctic Expedition who succumbed to the influenza epidemic of 1918. "Little Split died of influenza a few days after he reached Nome" (Noice 1924).

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Emui (Split-the-Wind), an Inupiat man from Cape Nome, Alaska, with one of his dogs, on M'Clure Strait, south of Melville Island, N.W.T. April 10, 1916. GHW 51136. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

Wife of Alingnak, and mother (adoptive) of Topsy Ikiuna, Guninanna, or "Kuninana" worked as as a seamstress for the Northern Party of the CAE from September 1915 to May 1917, at wages of $20 or $40 a month (Auditor General's Report 1919-20). Stefansson hired her primarily as a seamstress, but found her knowledge of Inuit/Inuvialuit customs to be invaluable. "Guninana is one of the best Eskimo informants I have ever had and some of the chief ethnological results of my former expedition were based on her information" (Stefansson 1921).

"I found that Guninana was far better versed in the ancient lore of her people, spoke the Baillie Islands dialect with undoubted purity of accent, and was the most cheerful and long-suffering person I have ever encountered in answering what must necessarily be tedious questions..."
"Guninana ....told me of how diseases were controlled, how famines were averted, how people were killed or cured by magic, how the future could be foretold and the secrets of the past uncovered, how people could see through hills and fly to the moon, and various things of that sort of which the Christian Eskimo pretend an ignorance and of which they will either tell you nothing or else half truths and untruths.... Guninana alone could have told me stories, she said (and I suppose it to be true), that it would have taken me years to write down" (Stefansson 1913).

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Minnie (Guninana), wife of Alingnak, and Uttaktuak (Iktuktorvik), wife of Peter Lopez, in patterned attigi (parka), at Wilkins' North Star camp south of Cape Prince Alfred, Banks Island, N.W.T. February 21, 1916. GHW 51100. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

Topsy Ikiuna
The adopted daughter of Alingnak and Guninanna, Topsy Ikiuna travelled with the CAE to Banks and Melville Islands from 1915 to 1917. She was paid for ten months work as a seamstress, at a wage of $40 a month (Auditor General's Report 1919-20). In October 1916, Topsy and Natkusiak were married on Melville Island. "I saw Ikiuna, Natkusiak's newly wedded wife chewing gum... using ... the black pitch they had found in the [coal] mine" (Noice 1924).
[link to Natkusiak biography, below]

Elizabeth Banksland of Holman, Topsy's daughter-in-law, remembers her as a fine seamstress. "Topsy (Ikiuna) was quarter breed; dark and with curly hair" (Elizabeth Banksland interview, September 2002, Holman).

In September 2002, Jimmy Memogana recalled a drum dancing song about Melville Island that he had learned from his Mother, Topsy Ikiuna. This song was composed by Kikoak, adopted son of Atenoyuk from Alaska, on Melville Island during the Canadian Arctic Expedition. The song laments the long winters on the northern islands and remarks on the numbers of muskoxen.

"Pungmagok Pungma" (Above Us)

Our weather around us
Our land (here) with us
It doesn't become spring
It doesn't become summer
Going around the seasons (the circle)
Too many muskoxen
Too many muskoxen.


Jimmy Memogana singing the Melville Island drum dancing song "Pungmagok Pungma."


Illun, originally from Herschel Island, was a member of the Polar Bear crew, and travelled with Stefansson's Northern Party to the Arctic islands in 1915 and 1916. He and his wife Kutok, a seamstress for the Expedition, worked on Victoria and Melville Islands, and Illun was a member of the 1917 exploratory party. When travelling with Stefansson, Illun provided him with information on many interesting aspects of Inuit supernatural beliefs (Stefansson 1921). Illun established a hunting camp at Ramsay Island near Walker Bar, Victoria Island.

Illun's wages from August 1915 to February 1916 ranged from $20 per month to $45 per month. He was also paid a bonus of $5 per day for special work. When he left the CAE, he bought dogs and supplies from the Expedition (Auditor General's Report 1919-20).

The Expedition purchased various supplies from Illun, including mooseskins, snowshoes, tea, and traps (24 at $1.50).

Iyituaryuk, known as "Rambler," worked for the Expedition for at least a year, at the Cape Kellett Camp on Banks Island. George Wilkins' diary refers to Rambler being at Cape Kellett in 1916 and the Auditor General's report for 1916-1917 records his salary of $240 for one year's services at Cape Kellett. Iyituaryuk also sold to the Expedition six of his dogs ("2 at $30, 3 at $15, 1 $10) plus some fish and 100 lbs of whale meat (Auditor General's Report 1916-1917).

Although Iyituaryuk is not mentioned by Stefansson (1921) as part of the Northern Party, he had met Iyituaryuk in March 1910 when he arrived with other visitors at the winter settlement of Nogarvik, 12 miles east of the Baillie Islands (Stefansson 1912). Stefansson records Iyituaryuk as being Alingnak's father. R.M. Anderson's diary tells us that Iyituaryuk's mother was "the old woman Panigyuk at Baillie Island... [who] used to live in one of the whale-skull/sod houses at Langton Bay" ( R.M. Anderson Diary, September 2, 1910).

Stefansson mentions that Iyituaryuk was a boy some fifty years prior to 1910 (Stefansson 1912), suggesting he was born about 1855 and thus would have been 61 years old in 1916. Wilkin's diary refers to "this couple," suggesting that Iyituaryuk was there with his wife, possibly the seamstress, Amaganna. In a letter to Girling (July 13, 1916) Anderson records that "The 'Mary Sachs' is still hauled up at Cape Kellett, with Capt. Bernard and old Irituayuk ('Old Rambler') and family with him."


Kutok (Katie Roland)
The wife of Illun, Kutok also is mentioned by Stefansson (1921) as providing him with information on local beliefs. As a seamstress, Kutok was paid $100 for her work during the year 1916-1917 at Cape Kellett, Banks Island, and $20 a month for the two years from September 1917 to 1919, working on Melville and Victoria Islands (Auditor General's Report 1919-20).

Kutok was later known as Katie Roland and her memories of the time with the CAE are recorded in archival tapes and quoted extensively in the Aulavik Oral History Project (Nagy 1999). Here is a sample:
"Then we started off with the Mimiqluks, the Ikugaks, Mamayauq and also Panigavluk when they got home, and Palaiyaq too. It was us that were the Inupiat. There was lots of us and we started off. When we pushed out from the shore, they started blowing the horns, and I just about started crying. We just travelled and travelled and started off to the ocean with a boat that had two big sails. They said the boat was the Polar Bear. They were lots of white people, they were very lively these white people.... we finally made it to Banks Island. Some Inupiat were [there] and they greeted us. A white man named Charlie (Thomsen?) had a wife, but I forgot her name. Also them two, Kiguaq and somebody else. They were workers there at Banks Island. They were looking after the dogs. These two took so long, and with my husband Itluun, they stayed behind."

Peter Lopez
Peter Lopez was a whaler before he joined the CAE. He had come to the Arctic on a whaling ship which was wrecked on Diamond Rock.This ship was probably the whaler Alexander which went ashore in fog at Cape Parry in August 1906.

"Peter Lopez stayed with us at Tom Cod Bay for two years. He was travelled with old ship when it was wrecked between west side of Cape Parry on Diamond Rock, a big rock by itself, high [out of the water?]. They were travelling in fog. Met him in 1925. He stayed at Stephen Point. He used to tell story [of] when the boat wrecked at Diamond Rock. The crew from the whaler took whaleboat [and were] heading out for Herschel Island. [They] stayed at Stephen Point" (Edward Ruben 2002).

According to Frank Carpenter of Inuvik, Peter was well known to the Inuit. His reputation as a whaler includes a story of him jumping onto the back of a whale during a hunt (Frank Carpenter Interview, September 2002, Inuvik).

R. M. Anderson recorded in September 1914, that the whaler Rosie H. left the Baillie Islands "Manned by Tom Emmsley, Jim Fiji, and Peter Lopez (Portuguese negro)" intending to winter at Booth Island (R.M. Anderson Diary, September 9, 1914).

In 1915 Peter Lopez was "in charge of the schooner [Rosie H.], had with him Nuligak's brother Jim, Nuligak's mother and Lopez's wife.... Peter Lopez, a Negro, after a year at Baillie went to live in Aklavik" (Nuligak/Metayer 1966).

Peter Lopez joined the Canadian Arctic Expedition at the Baillie Islands in August 1915. "Pete Lopes, a Portuguese from the Rosie H., had asked me for a job yesterday, and from what I can hear he seems a willing and capable man, so I engaged him this morning to help with the [North] Star. We could do without him, I daresay, but we can do better with him, for a boat however small needs four men to keep her running continually through these waters where one is liable to meet ice at any moment. He has an Eskimo woman with him, and she will be an additional help with the sewing." (Wilkins Diary, August 15, 1915). Lopez and his wife Uttaktuak travelled to Banks Island with Wilkins on the North Star and helped with the Northern Party in many ways. He was part of the hunting and travelling parties on Melville Island the winter of 1916, killing caribou and muskoxen, preparing and caching meat for Stefansson's advance parties.

In 1917 Peter Lopez and Uttaktuak left Victoria Island on Polar Bear, stopping at the Kellett base on Banks Island. "... both ships [Polar Bear and Challenge] proceeded to the harbour at Cape Bathurst where Captain Gonzales left the expedition. We also put off several of our other men who desired to become trappers there, Pete Lopez, Jim Fiji, and some Eskimos" (Stefansson 1921).

Lopez's and Uttaktuak's daughter Lucy Adams, of Inuvik, was born at Tom Cod Bay in 1931. She recalls little of her parents early history as her mother died when she was only three years old, and her father when she was eight (1938). After Uttaktuak died (about 1934), Lopez put Lucy into school at Aklavik. "He stayed in the Mission, working for the Brothers and Father in Aklavik. He did fishing for their dogs, two teams plus his own and in winter under ice fishing with nets. All schools were burning wood. He was cutting cordwood summer and winter at the Brothers' camp. There were five big buildings to heat at the Mission. He stayed, room and board, at the Father's house. He often went out to the Brothers' camp, fishing for the dogs, the hospital, and Mission food. I only see him when he comes to town." Peter Lopez and Lucy's brother Emmanuel (who died in 1942) are buried in the old graveyard in Aklavik. Lucy remembers her father being six feet tall, and dark with really curly hair. Her mother's English name was Sarah or Nellie (Lucy Adams interview, Inuvik, September 2002).


Lucy (Lopes) Adams, Inuvik. September 2002. Source: David Gray

Wilkins recorded taking a photograph of Lopez at Banks Island in 1916. "Wilkins # 321. Pete Lopez, a portugese sailor hired by Wilkins at Baillie Islands in August 1915, at the North Star camp, north of mouth of Bernard River, Banks Island, N.W.T., February 21, 1916." Unfortunately, this photo is one of several listed by Wilkins that have not been located.


Mamayauk (Mamie Mamayauq)
Mamayauk was the wife of Ilavinirk, and mother of a daughter Nogasak. The couple had adopted the boy, Palaiyak, who was about 20 years old at the time of the CAE. Both Ilavinirk and Mamayauk had worked for Stefansson on his earlier expedition (Stefansson 1913).

"Ilavinirk was as an informant... not nearly so good as his wife Mamayauk, who further had the advantage of speaking the Mackenzie dialect fairly pure" (Stefansson 1913).

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Ilavinirk and his wife Mamayuak, Mackenzie Delta Inuit, after migration from Coronation Gulf. Ilavinirk was interpreter for Inspector La Nauze on his trip to Coronation Gulf. Great Bear Lake, N.W.T. June 1916. KGC 43359. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

Mamayauk worked as a seamstress for the Northern Party and was paid at least $450 for her work (Auditor General's Report 1919-20).

As recorded in the Aulavik Oral History Project (Nagy 1999), Mamayauk recalls the relationship between the local people and Stefansson: "That Stefansson, long time ago he was in our land, around here (Holman) when there was nobody around. When he first went to the people, he had no stuff at all, only a mattress and blankets. That's all he had to himself. He had nothing at all. He just tried to eat from the people, when Stefansson first come. Then when he came again the second time, he got stuff and came. All that time he had been preparing a expedition. The ones that he always ate from, he began to give them lots, the ones that he spent winter with, both winter and summer. He used to keep moving from people to people."

Mamayauk (Violet Mamayauk)
A younger woman from the Baillie Islands, named Violet Mamayauk, worked as a seamstress for the Northern Party and Stefansson paid her at least $450 for her work (Auditor General's Report 1919-20). Noice (1924) records that Captain Henry Gonzales and Mamayauk were married during the CAE, probably at Victoria Island in 1917 (Noice 1924). Gonzales built a house for them at Baillie Islands in 1917. It is not known whether they had any children or how long they stayed together.

Wilkins photographed "Mammayauk," in a colourful parka, with her mother Paddy (Betty?) at Baillie Islands on July 26, 1916. One of these photographs (GHW 51337) appears in Stefansson (1921) with the caption, "Mamayauk, half-white girl, Cape Bathurst."

August Masik
August Masik was an Estonian sailor who moved north to Nome in 1914. He travelled to Banks Island with Crawford in 1917 to trap Arctic foxes. From De Salis Bay on the southeastern side of Banks Island, he and Otto Binder travelled across the pass, now known as Masik Pass, to the CAE camp near Cape Kellett. There he was hired to help Castel in restoring the schooner Mary Sachs. Because of his sailing experience, Stefansson appointed him First Mate of the Challenge for a short time in September 1917. He then became second officer on the Polar Bear for almost a year. At Barter Island, Alaska, he volunteered to be a member of Storkersen's 1918 Ice Trip. He finally received a formal letter of discharge from Stefansson in 1919.

Three years after the end of the CAE, Masik joined a party of traders who wanted help in salvaging the Polar Bear, then stranded at the mouth of the Kolyma River in Siberia. He wintered there in 1921-22, doing some repair work on the schooner and running a trapline under permit from the Communists. He left in the summer and overwintered in 1922-23 at Cape Billings, Siberia, opposite Wrangel Island (the year Lorne Knight and others died at Wrangel Island). He lived in a small cabin near Martin Point on the north coast of Alaska until at least 1934.

Natkusiak (Billy Banksland)
"Natkusiak had accompanied him [Stefansson] on his visit to the 'Copper' Eskimos of Coronation Gulf. He had joined Stefansson on the present expedition in 1914, and had since been one of the crew of the North Star. Therefore, he and the Commander were old friends. Natkusiak was a little man, about forty, a typical Eskimo, but with a fair command of English, for he had worked on ships; He was jolly, fond of telling funny stories, and a bundle of energy" (Noice 1924).

"Since 1926 when moved to this area, Baillie Islands, I used to see Natkusiak. He told about Stefansson. One time Natkusiak was guide, [he liked to] smoke pipe." Once when Stefansson and Natkusiak met "three young guys from the eastern Arctic, Natkusiak filled up his pipe and when he struck match, those guys just tooked off. He hollered at them, 'I won't do nothing to you guys.' But they never even looked back." (Edward Ruben Interview, September 2002, Paulatuk.)

When Stefansson's "ankle incapacitated him for hunting, most of this work fell on Natkusiak, who was one of the best Eskimo hunters I have ever known; he was a tireless walker, and when he found caribou he had the patience to wait interminably for a chance to approach them from behind cover" (Noice 1924).

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Billy Natkusiak and his big dog "Mike", M'Clure Strait south of Melville Island, N.W.T. April 10, 1916. GHW 51137. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

In October 1916, on their return from Meighen Island, Noice describes Natkusiak's work in establishing camp [at Cape Grassy]; "It was a mighty creditable performance. Natkusiak certainly deserved all the praise we gave him. How good it was to be with our friends again!" Noice lists the inhabitants of camp: Natkusiak and his newly wedded wife, Ikiuna, Pannigabluk, Alingnak and his wife, "little Guninana" (Noice 1924).

Natkusiak married Topsy Ikiuna, daughter of Alingnak and his wife Guninanna, during their time with the CAE Northern Party on Melville Island in October 1916.

Natkusiak was paid $65 and $75 per month and received a bonus for ice travel. At the end of the Expedition, the North Star and some supplies were turned over to Natkusiak in lieu of $2000 wages owing (Auditor General's Report 1919-20).

After the CAE
Following the departure of the Canadian Arctic Expedition in 1917, Natkusiak spent four years (1917 to 1921) trapping in northwest Banksland using the schooner as his base. Fred Carpenter told Usher (1971) that Natkusiak and his party trapped about 1000 foxes in the four years between 1917 and when he left Banksland on North Star in 1921. Natkusiak travelled south from his North Star camp to Nelson Head and made the dangerous trip across the ice of Amundsen Gulf by dog team in the winter of 1918-1919 and possibly in 1919-1920 as well to visit Fritz Wolki's trading post (Usher 1971 and Manning 1956).

Agnes Goose of Holman Island recalls information about her father Natkusiak; "Then he married my mother Topsy Ikiuna. Her family was also working for Stefansson, and she and my Dad met up at Melville Island. After my Dad finished working for Stefansson, he lived on Banks Island and then moved to Baillie Island where they had a house. That's also when they adopted Jimmy (Memogana). When my Dad finished working for Stefansson, he got the North Star. "

After the Expedition, Natkusiak returned to a life of hunting and trapping. Later known as Billy Banksland, he spent a number of years trapping on Banksland. With his wife, Topsy Ikiuna, who was from the Mackenzie Delta, he had six children. In 1939 he moved his family to Holman Island. Natkusiak died and was buried in Holman in 1947. A Peninsula in Victoria Island and a basalt rock formation on Holman Island are named in his honour.


Village of Holman looking south, September 20, 2002. Source: David Gray


Graveyard at Holman, looking south towards King's Bay, September 21, 2002. Source: David Gray

Several of Natkusiak and Ikiuna's children became well-known artists. Alex Banksland, also named Alingnak after his mother's adoptive father, produced many interesting prints, many featured in the annual Holman print catalogue. Their adopted son Jimmy Memorana (Memogana) is an accomplished artist, creating both carvings and prints, an important drum-dancer and singer, and a well-known hunter and dedicated assistant to wildlife biologists. Jimmy was elected a Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America.

Jimmy Memorana remembers much about Natkusiak. His advice to Jimmy: "Feed the dogs before you eat, before you go inside to eat. Look after it [them] good." Jimmy tells that: "Billy Banksland had one box of shells for one year. Had good dogs all the time. Used same sled [as during CAE] afterwards." Jimmy played the role of Natkusiak in James Houston's film, The Winners, in the 1970s (Jimmy Memorana interview, September 2002, Holman).


Print by Aliknak (Alex Banksland) - Inuk with fish spear. Source: David Gray


Print by Aliknak - Hawks with nest. Source: David Gray

Fannie Pannigabluk (and son Alex Stefansson)
The Mackenzie Inuvialuit woman known as Pannigabluk or Panivaluk had been Stefansson's seamstress during his 1908-1912 expedition, and became his wife according to local custom during that time. Their son Alex or Alashuk was born in 1910. Pannigabluk was again hired briefly by Stefansson for work at Martin Point and on the North Star, in northern Alaska, in the spring of 1914, and later on the Polar Bear in August 1915. Pannigabluk was paid for at least 32 months of work during the Expedition.

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Pannigabluk, Alaskan Inupiat woman who was with Stefansson during his 1908-1912 exploration, and their son, Alex Stefansson, near the whaler Belvedere, east of Martin Point, northern Alaska. October 18, 1913. JJO 38378. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

During the exploration of the New Lands in 1916, Stefansson sent Storkersen back from Cape Murray on Brock Island (New Land) to Victoria Island to bring Storkersen's wife and family and the seamstress Pannigabluk north to Melville Island, to make clothes for the explorers (Noice 1924). In early 1916 Pannigabluk, with her young son Alex, started north from Victoria Island with a party led by Storkersen and consisting of Storkersen's family, Martin Kilian, Jim (Fiji) Asasela, and Lorne Knight, heading to Banks and Melville Islands (Montgomery 1932).

When Noice was returning south from the newly-discovered Meighen Island (in October 1916) Pannigabluk was one of the inhabitants of the camp at Cape Grassy, along with Natkusiak and his newly-wedded wife, Ikiuna, and Alingnak and his wife "little Guninana" (Noice 1924). In late November 1916 Noice left Cape Grassy Camp with Natkusiak, Ikiuna, and Pannigabluk and her little son, and all their dogs, heading south to where there was more abundant food. (Noice 1924 p. 196).

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Pannigabluk, an Alaskan Inupiat, and her son Alex (Stefansson) beside their tent, Martin Point, northern Alaska. March 18, 1914. GHW 50769. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization


In the spring of 1917, Pannigabluk and Alex were at the camp at Peddie Point on southern Melville Island. When Gonzales left Cape Grassy with Lopez, Alingnak, and Guninana, he had orders to pick up the women at Peddie Point - Mrs. Storkerson, Mrs. Lopez, and Pannigabluk - and take them to the Polar Bear" (Noice 1924).

It seems that Pannigabluk and Alex were on the Polar Bear for the short summer sailing season of 1917 when the schooner travelled from Victoria Island to Banks Island and out to Alaska. From John Hadley's diary we learn that they were at Barter Island from December 1917 until May 1918. Panny's skills as seamstress were still an essential part of the CAE:

December 29, 1917: "Punny has the gout in her arm and shoulder and is unable to work and the other two women are very slow."
February 1, 1918: "I had Pannagubluk made 4 snowshirts and 6 snowpants today which completes the amount needed for the ice party. She has made 10 pairs of water boots, but no canvas boots."
February 6, 1918: "I received 14 pairs of boots today from Punnagubluk, 2 more to come which will give us 17 pairs of water boots and 7 pairs of canvas boots on hand. There will be 4 pairs of canvas boots and 2 of water boots at Collinson Point to pick up when they go by."
(John Hadley Diary, October 1917 to July 1918).


May 28, 1918: "Our old friend Punnigubluk left us this morning bound for the island; I believe she has changed her mind about Point Barrow, as she said that the women were talking too much and she was not satisfied any way" (Hadley Diary, October 1917 to July 1918).

In mid November 1918, Storkersen's Ice Party found Punnigabluk living "all by herself" at a cabin at the mouth of the Hula-Hula River (Knight Diary, 1918). She told them that the Polar Bear had sunk in the harbour at Barter Island the previous summer, but that "They fix her up all right. She leave little while ago with rest white men. You like some tea?" After tea with "this charming social leader of the North" they set out for Barter Island, ten miles away (Montgomery 1932).

As seamstress and companion on many of the northern trips, Pannigabluk was well-liked by Expedition members. When Lorne Knight arrived in Edmonton on his way south, and after he had cleaned himself up and bought a new suit of clothes, he commented to himself; "Punnigabluk should have seen me then!" (Montgomery 1932 p. 288).

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Three Inuit women and five children, in front of tent at Walker Bay, Victoria Island, N.W.T. Left to right: Alex (Stefansson) and Pannigabluk; Annie, little boy Thomsen, and Jenny Thomsen; Martina, Aida, and Elvina (Weena) Storkerson. July?, 1917. JH 57024. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

Among the mammals collected during the CAE, at the Canadian Museum of Nature, is an Alaska mink (Lutreola sp.) "From Pannigabluk, MacKenzie River Delta, N.W.T., Canada. Winter 1914-1915" (R.M. Anderson Specimen List).

Though Stefansson did not publically acknowledge Panigabluk as his wife, he did dedicate his book, Unsolved Mysteries of the Arctic, "To Fannie." The grandchildren of Pannigabluk and Stefansson remember much about this woman and her relationship with Stefansson. Rosie (Stefansson) Albert of Inuvik remembers her grandmother telling her: "You are going to be no good for nothing like your grandfather!" Always reading and writing while she hunted and did all the work!

Shirley Esau of Sachs Harbour, who named her daughter after Pannigabluk (actually Panygavlok), remembers her grandmother's skill at sewing, and treasures the memory of her Grandmother's red sewing box.


Rosie (Stefansson) Albert, grandaughter of Stefansson and Pannigabluk, Inuvik, September 2002. Source: David Gray


Shirley (Stefansson) Esau, grandaughter of Stefansson and Pannigabluk, with her daughter Beverly Panygavlok Esau, Sachs Harbour, September 2002. Source: David Gray

From Barrow, Alaska, Pausanna or Pauchina, was hired as a helper with the Church of England missionary H. Girling and had a camp with his wife and children near Bernard Harbour in 1915-16, during the time of the Expedition. Later, in 1918, Pausanna helped with the camp and hunting at Barter Island, Alaska, in support of Storkersen's last ice trip, and in the repair of the schooner Polar Bear.

John Hadley's 1918 diary records that the Expedition purchased "two pairs of snowshoes today from Pausanna" at Barter Island, Alaska, and in May that "Pausanna got two seals in the net" (Hadley Diary, 1918).


Pikalu had been with Stefansson "on and off" during the 1908-1912 Stefansson-Anderson Expedition (Stefansson 1912). Stefansson noted that Pikalu's father was Kunasluk. Pikalu and his wife Pusimmik were members of the 1917 exploratory party and hunted with Sefansson, Illun and Palaiyak. Pikalu also travelled with Captain Gonzales and Jim Fiji to the Inuit village at Minto Inlet in the winter of 1917 to trade for artifacts for the Expedition's ethnological collections (Stefansson 1921).

"After several miles chase the dogs stopped the bears and held them at bay until Pikalu came up with the gun. He shot the mother bear and then the Kogmollik[s] wanted to shoot the others, for they said that they had run so far. Pikalu gave them the gun and they shot the cubs. I kept the two cubs for specimens" (George Wilkins Diary).

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Pikalo, Mackenzie River Inuk from Barter Island, who came with Storkerson to Collinson Point, northern Alaska. March 6, 1914. GHW 50717. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

Several members of the CAE Northern Party (Baur, Castel, Hadley) recorded the death by drowning of a CAE Inupiat employee, Pipsuk, whose name was not on the official memorial plaque listing all those who died while on CAE service; "In Memory of Those who Perished - Canadian Arctic Expedition 1913-18." Pipsuk was from Nome and had been a member of the crew of the schooner Challenge when purchased for the Expedition by Stefansson in September 1917.

"...Pipsuk our native belonging to Nome formerly of the Schr Challenge crew was drowned this afternoon While tending the fish nets his kayak capsized drifted ashore where it was found. Our men dragged for the body which was found about 50 yards from the beach. The carpenter is making a coffin. He will probably be buried tomorrow... Monday, July 22nd, 1918
...The coffin was finished at 3am and all the preparations made for the burial of Pipsuk...Coffin completed and head stone marked. Pipsuks funeral to be this evening sometime...Pipsuk was buried on Barter Island at 7PM at East end with appropriate head stone. Tuesday 23rd, 1918"
(W.J. Baur Diary, Dec 1916 - Sept 1918).

Pusimmik, wife of Pikalu, was hired as a seamstress for the Expedition at $20 per month. She was paid for the equivalent of over two years of service "at Herschel and Melville Islands" (Auditor General's Report 1917-18).

Jennie Thomsen
Jennie Thomsen was an Inupiat from Nome, Alaska, and the wife of Charles Thomsen. She was hired by Stefansson as a seamstress for the Expedition's Northern Party. Jennie was mother of 16-month old Annie in 1914 and bore a son during the Expedition, whose name has not yet been discovered. Jennie helped Diamond Jenness with his language studies and and in recording Inuit/Inupiat stories during the first winter in northern Alaska. As seamstress, Jennie earned $25 per month.


In 1914, Jennie and her husband Charles sailed on Mary Sachs to Banks Island with Wilkins, and established the base camp there. She was a member of that camp when her husband was lost trying to take supplies and new sleds to Stefansson in the winter of 1916. Jennie travelled to Victoria Island after that winter and appears to have also travelled to Melville Island with the Northern Party.

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Jenny, Annie and Charles Thomsen, Collinson Point, northern Alaska. September 1913. JRC 39582. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

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CAE sailor Charlie Thomsen and daughter Annie, Collinson Point, northern Alaska, September 9, 1913. KGC 43183. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

Jennie stayed with the Expedition on Barter Island until the fall of 1918. At Nome she married Aarnout Castel, whom she had travelled and worked with during the previous two years. Unfortunately, Jennie, her daughter Annie and her son, all caught the influenza, and all died in Nome in 1918 (Jette Ashlee).

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Three Inuit women and five children, in front of tent at Walker Bay, Victoria Island, N.W.T. Left to right: Alex (Stefansson) and Pannigabluk; Annie, little boy Thomsen, and Jenny Thomsen; Martina, Aida, and Elvina (Weena) Storkerson. July?, 1917. JH 57024. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

Ulipsinna (or Ulipsfink), "one of the Blond Eskimos" from Minto Inlet, Victoria Island was part of the Polar Bear crew and the northern exploratory party in 1917. There is no record of wages paid to him, perhaps Stefansson paid him in cash or goods. This man was perhaps the only local man to work on Melville Island for Stefansson's Northern Party.

"Stayed in camp. Picallu, Freemen [Alingnak] and a Victoria Land native arrived from the hunting camp with two loads of meat. Weather clear and cold. Tem. 54 below zero wind L.B.W." (Karsten Andersen Diary, March 14, 1917).

Sarah Kuptanna of Sachs Harbour believes this man, known to her as Olifie, was a good friend of her Uncle and she tells how stories have survived that it was through the Expedition that these men first obtained rifles (Sarah Kuptanna Interview, September 2002, Sachs Harbour).

Unalina, the wife of Ambrose Agnavigak and sister of Palaiyak, was from Herschel Island.

Wilkins hired Uttaktuak and her husband Peter Lopez at Baillie Island in 1915 to help with the Northern Party. ".... she will be an additional help with the sewing." (Wilkins Diary 1915). In the fall and early winter of 1915 Uttaktuak and Peter were at the Cape Kellett camp with Wilkins.

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Minnie (Guninana), wife of Alingnak, and Uttaktuak (Iktuktorvik), wife of Peter Lopez, in patterned attigi (parka), at Wilkins' North Star camp south of Cape Prince Alfred, Banks Island, N.W.T. February 21, 1916. GHW 51100. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

Wilkins discovered that Uttaktuak was an accomplished artist:
"Sunday, December 5th, 1915. I have given Uktuktowik, Pete's wife, a book and some coloured pencils. She is extraordinarily fond of drawing, and I would like to keep the book as a record of her art, which I am bound to add is probably not inherent but suggested from inspiration from others and from looking at pictures in books, magazines, etc. I gave her a photograph of a dog to copy. She seems to have a fairly good anatomical knowledge, or is it judgment or instinct? Questioned in detail she says she does not reason out the proportions, she just draws them. Therefore, I think her ability must be attributed to memory" (Wilkins Diary)

So far, there is no trace of the drawings that Uttaktuak made for Wilkins in 1916, but they may yet be discovered in the archives of the Wilkins papers at Ohio State University.

While her husband was travelling with the exploration parties in 1916, she remained at the base camp at Peddie Point, Melville Island. Stefansson records his pleasure at the work she accomplished: "We arrived at Storkerson's base camp October 16th, which we found very homelike under the management of Mrs. Storkerson and Mrs. Lopez. During the summer they had done their full share in helping dry meat and now they were busy making warm winter clothing and waterproof summer boots without which our work would be difficult and comfort impossible" (Stefansson 1921).

"The women, Uttaktuak (Mrs. Lopes) and Uinirk (Mrs. Storkersen) have both done much and good work and could not have been much more useful than was really the case. They have skinned and cut up oxen and done much of the drying work, besides sewing clothes"
(Stefansson manuscript, The Summer Work in Melville Island, Dartmouth College).

Fred Wolki
Fred Wolki was from Teller, Alaska, the son of the German/Swiss whaler Fritz Wolki and Pisuktoak, an Inupiat woman. Wolki was employed by the Canadian Arctic Expedition from December 1917 to February 1918. He was a member of the 1918 ice party led by Storkersen and volunteered to continue with the drifting ice party. Storkersen thought he was too young for this trip and he went back with last support party led by Castel. He was paid $45 a month with a bonus of $5 per day while on the ice and another bonus of $75 while a member of the support party. Fred continued to work for the expedition at Barter Island.


In 1924, Fred Wolki was part of the crew on Christian Klengenberg's schooner Maid of Orleans when Henry Larsen was also on board and RCMP Constable MacDonald was lost overboard. "Bror [Wiik] remained on deck with Fred Wolkie, the son of a German whaling skipper, who was at the helm" (Larsen, The Big Ship, 1967).

Fred Wolki and his family went to Banks Island in about 1929-1931. He would have known about Banks Island and the fox trapping there through his association with the men of the Polar Bear and the CAE Northern Party. They had a camp and house at Blue Fox Harbour, on the west coast of Banks Island. Fred's wife Susie was from Aklavik and they had a son Roy (David Berhardt interview, September 2002, Kugluktuk).

Fred died at a relatively young age from tuberculosis. After his death his widow Susie remarried Peter Sydney. Many interesting photographs of Fred and his family and their schooner Blue Fox are in the Peter and Susie Sydney Photograph Collection.