Hall visits with Inuit (1879)




Crozier had a little book as he sat in Ow-wer's tent, and wrote notes. He said, while in the tent, "Ag-loo-ka wonger," patting his own breast. Outside, he said he was going to I-wil-lik, making motions with his hand in that direction. No dog with Ag-loo-ka's company ; now-yers, geese, and ducks hanging to the boat. One man only very fat, the others all poor. One man with Crozier in Ow-wer's tent said, Tier-kin wonger. One man with one of his upper teeth gone, and one with marks on the indent or saddle of his nose. Trouble thought to be among the men ; but not so. They were putting up the tent and stopped, staring at the Innuits. When Crozier spoke to them then, they at once resumed their work. The Innuits left Crozier and men encamped there, and moved inland, suspicious that they abandoned starving men. Crozier described to them the ice destroying their vessel, his men dying; the full meaning comprehended afterward by the Innuits. An awning over the boat, roof-like. No sword worn by Crozier. In a little bay were Crozier's party when the Innuits first saw them. One man cross-eyed or squinted. Same boat found on mainland, (or rather isle, as the tide is high on the west side of inlet of Point Richardson.)

Crozier, while in Ow-wer's tent, eat a piece of seal, raw, about as big as fore and next fingers to first joint.

II. — MAY 11, 1869.

Poo-yet-ta was the Innuit who first found these remains of the five whites. The remains, some not buried, but some found lying down on the high parts of the island, all close together, and each fully dressed ; flesh all on the bones, and unmutilated by any animals. Next to Too-loo-a's body, was one preserved-meat can. This can found by Poo-yet-ta beside the body of Too-loo-a unopened. It was opened by the Innuits and found to contain meat and much tood-noo with it. No bad smell to it. The contents eaten by the Innuits. The meat and fat very sweet and good. A jack-knife found in the pocket of one of the five men.

The graves of the two men (white) that are buried on the point of King William's Land on the east side the mouth of Peffer River were found by Nee-wik-tee-too, a Neitchille Innuit now dead. His widow, the old lady with shaking head at twenty-seventh encampment, whom I saw when there. The bodies buried by placing stones around and over them ; the remains facing upward, and the hands had been folded in a very precise manner across the breasts of both ; clothes all on ; flesh all on the bones. On the back of each a suspended knife found. The bodies perfect when found, but the Innuits having left the remains unburied, after unearthing them, the foxes have eaten meat and sinews all off the bones. A tenting-place of the whites close by where these two men were buried. Many needles and one nail found by the Innuits at this tenting-place.

These remains found the same spring as those of this island, Kee-u-na. There being nothing for the subsistence of any living thing on the isle, it is therefore called Kee-u-na.

The boat on the west side of the inlet — that is, west side of Point Richardson — was found same season of same year as remains at Kee-u-na. A keg of powder found at the boat, and much of contents emptied on the ground ; a gun or two found there. The nature and use of these things not known to Innuits till they saw Dr. Rae in 1854 at Pelly Bay. Poo-yet-ta had seen guns of Ag-loo-ka when at Neitchille, but did not know the nature of the black sand stuff (powder). An igloo was blown to atoms by a little son of Poo-yet-ta and another lad, who were afterward playing with the powder canister having some of the black stuff in it. They dropped some fire into the canister through the vent or opening; their faces were awfully burned and blackened with the explosion; no one was killed, but the igloo completely demolished. The grave and remains were in same perfect methodical state when found as those at the two at the mouth of Peffer River. This grave on King William's Land about due north of Kee-u-na. The body dug up and left unburied by the Innuits. This white man was very large and tall, and by the state of gums and teeth was terribly sick (bad state), as In-nook-poo-zhee-jook described.


Now, noon and the wife of Tük-pee-too present in our igloo at my request, having understood that she has seen some of the skeleton-bones of the five men who died on this island, Kee-u-na (Todd's Isle) ; her name, E-vee-shuk. I now, with Jack's assistance as interpreter, ask her two questions : Did you see anything of the men who died on this island? Answer. She has seen five skulls of the white men who died a long time ago here. Did you see Too-loo-ark? Answer. Saw the bodies of four white men in one place on the island, and of Too-loo-ark a little way from the four. When she first saw them flesh and clothing on all the men ; the bodies entire ; and after making tupiks near, the dogs devoured much of the flesh of the kob-lu-nas. It was some time after this that she saw the five skulls she first spoke of as having seen. She saw these bodies entire one winter after Poo-yet-ta found them, and the clothes these men had on were black ;— their kum-mins (boots) those men had on were of the same kind of leather as the belt I have given to In-nook-poo-zhe-jook ; tanned leather from the United States. Were these men buried? Answer. No, they were lying as they had died, on the top of the ground. Where are the skeletons now? Answer. On this island, some in one place and some in another, but all are under the snow ; have tried to find them since we arrived here, but the snow covers them so deep cannot find even one bone. When snow is gone all the bones can be seen. Did you ever hear of any white men dying on Ke-ki-tuk-ju-a (Montreal Island)? No, never. Did you ever go to the place where the boat with many dead kob-lu-nas were found by the Innuits on the other side of the strait? Yes, I have been there. Where is the place? I now show her Rae's chart, and have shown it to her before, but not for the object I now have. On ascertaining the position of Point Ogle, Miscononchie Isle, and Point Richardson, she puts her finger on the west side of the inlet west side of Point Richardson, and says that was the place where the boat was found. Did you see any bones of white men there? She did ; the land low and muddy there ; the sea-water close to ; saw pieces of the boat, after the Innuits had broken it up. Can bones — skeleton bones — be seen there now, when snow and ice are gone? Answer. She thinks not, for it is so muddy there, and the mud soft, that they have all sunk down into it. She continues : One man's body when found by the Innuits, flesh all on, not mutilated, except the hands sawed off at the wrists ; the rest, a great many had their flesh cut off as if some one or other had cut it off to eat.

I now go further on this island than our igloo is, for this woman to show me where she saw the five dead men before they were partially eaten by dogs.

Tuk-pee-too and his wife E-vee-shuk, with one of their little ones, have just taken a walk with me, the woman leading me to the place where the five men died. It is the southeastern end of the island, within 20 fathoms of the shore. I have just marked the spot, on which we shall erect a monument, over which we shall pay our humble tribute to the noble dead.

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About this document ...

  • Written by: Charles Francis Hall
  • Published in: Narrative of the Second Arctic Expedition Made by Charles F. Hall
  • Published by: Government Printing Office
  • Place: Washington D.C.
  • Date: 1879
  • Page(s): 606-608
Sunken ship