Canadian Arctic—1975

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April of 1975 found me back in the High Arctic again with the Renewable Resources crew. We had learned a lot in the first season. We had a good idea where the caribou and muskoxen were, at least in the summer, and we had a good idea what the habitat looked like and how to assess it. Aerial surveys were to continue but we also needed to get more on-the-ground information about the quality of habitat and the location of calving grounds.

Lindsay Rackette and I set out camps on Somerset Island (Lindsay) and the Boothia Peninsula (me). We prepared all winter for these camps, learning the proper way to drive snowmobiles and building a pair of komatiks or Inuit sledges. We built them in Lindsay's basement using Inuit techniques—no nails or screws, all held together with rope. It was quite an experience and our Inuk assistants approved our work.

Slide 23 — My Inuk assistant was David Nanook of Spence Bay. His job, besides guiding me to where he knew caribou calving grounds to be, was to make sure this Kabloona didn't kill himself. I learned a lot from him. Here he stands with the skull of a bull caribou we found near camp.

Slide 24 — David Nanook (left) and I at our Wrottsley River Valley Camp on the Boothia Peninsula.

Slide 25 — After setting out our camp, I had to get oriented, so David and I drove our snowmobiles south to the head of the valley. This allowed me to get perspective on the valley and David could show me where we needed to go to find caribou.

Slide 26 — Looking west from our camp at the valley edges. We tried to drive our snowmobiles up that valley to see the coast but they bogged down in some very thick but deep snow that had accumulated there over the winter. The valley however was covered in much harder and denser snow that was wind-blown.

(page 9)

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