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© University of Ottawa Press
The Diary of Abraham Ulrikab
Text and Context
Edited by Hartmut Lutz
Foreword by Alootook Ipellie
Photographs by Hans-Ludwig Blohm
- Available (September 2005)
- Paper $29.95 CAD
120 pages . 8 x 8
- PDF ebook $14.99 CAD
In August 1880, businessman Adrian Jakobsen convinced eight Inuit men, women, and children from Hebron and Nakvak, Labrador to accompany him to Europe to be "exhibited" in zoos and Völkerschauen (ethnographic shows). Abraham, Maria, Noggasak, Paingo, Sara, Terrianiak, Tobias, and Ulrike agreed, partly for the money and partly out of curiosity to see the wonders of Europe, which they had heard about from Moravian missionaries.
The Inuit arrived in the fall of 1880 and were much talked and written about in the local press. Meanwhile, the Moravian missionaries, who had begged them not to embark on the journey, were busily writing letters and trying to stay in contact with Abraham and his family. By January 1881 all eight Inuit had died of smallpox.
This story is told through several different perspectives, from Abraham's diary, the earliest known Inuit autobiography, and the missionaries’ letters and reports, to a scholarly article, newspaper pieces, and even advertising. Many illustrations, including portraits done of the Inuit visitors, scans of some of the original documents in German, and recent photos of the abandoned Moravian mission in Hebron, round out Abraham’s intriguing and unfortunate story.
Hartmut Lutz chairs American and Canadian Studies at the University of Greifswald, Germany, and has received several awards, including a Harris Chair at Dartmouth College and the John G. Diefenbaker Award, which brought him to the University of Ottawa in 2004 for a year-long study leave.
Writer, graphic artist, cartoonist, photographer, and Inuktitut translator Alootook Ipellie was born in 1951 in the small hunting camp of Nuvuqquq. His work has been anthologized many times and he was touted by John Robert Colombo as "the most prolific of contemporary Inuit writers."
Hans Blohm, born in Germany, is an internationally acclaimed photographer, who has travelled across Canada extensively. Canada's North and Northern People have long held a particular fascination for Hans and he has explored by sailboat the fjords of Labrador and their villages, including Hebron.