Monday, September 11, 2006

New Prey: Voyagers to the East Part IX (redux)

For the previous entry in this series, click here. For the original Part IX, click here.

In their essay "This New Prey: Eskimos in Europe in 1567, 1576, and 1577" (in Christian Feest, ed., Indians and Europe: An Interdisciplinary Collection of Essays [Nebraska, 1999], 61-140) William Sturtevant and David Beers Quinn provide some additional information on these involuntary travelers. The Inuit who came to Europe in 1567 were a woman and her 7-year-old daughter, captured by French or Basque sailors in Labrador the previous year, and put on display in Antwerp and the Hague. A contemporary woodcut portrays the two captives wearing hooded sealskin parkas and shows the unidentified woman's facial tattoos; a German handbill claims that the Eskimos were "wild people and man-eaters" and expresses the hope that mother and daughter were both converted to Christianity (130-131). Sturtevant and Quinn assert, however, that "they cannot have survived long and certainly never saw their homeland again" (68).

It's a fair guess, because none of the four Eskimos whom Frobisher took to England in 1576 and '77 survived for more than a few weeks. The unnamed Inuit man captured in 1576 caught cold while at sea and "died about 15 days after arriving in London" (72). Frobisher and his partners bought medicine and bedding for the man, and paid for his coffin and burial in Saint Olave churchyard, at a total cost of 8 pounds sterling. The three Inuit captured in 1577 -- a man named Kalicho, a woman named Arnaq, and a baby named Nutaaq -- lived only slightly longer. Kalicho was well enough to display his canoeing and duck-hunting skills on the Avon River in October 1577, but he soon sickened and died, probably of an infected lung. Arnaq and Nutaaq died of unspecified causes in early November. Kalicho and Arnaq were interred at St. Stephen's Church in Bristol and Nutaaq at Saint Olave Church in London. (84).

For the next entry in this series, click here.

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