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No Franklin, no Amundsen: Why the delay?


So the box contains no Franklin items. For that I was ready. But nothing related to Roald Amundsen? That was a surprise. But then my old friend Louie Kamookak clarified for me.  He was one of the two men with whom I once placed a plaque on the coast of Boothia Peninsula to honour the discovery, by John Rae, of the final link in the Northwest Passage. Louie is also the grandson of Paddy Gibson, the HBC man who dug up the Amundsen photo (of Neumayer) in 1927. George Washington Porter reburied it in the late 1950s. But then, in the late 1970s, Louie explained, another HBC man took the Neumayer photo and the slab of marble that Amundsen left and brought them to Yellowknife, so they ended up
in government storage. So that would be why the delay. Almost certainly, that HBC man left a note in the box before he reburied it -- a note explaining what he had done. So now, before they reveal the note,
those who dug up the box want to locate the Neumayer photo and the marble slab, so they can produce them at the same time.That's my thinking on it, anyway. Oh, and one more thing: Louie Kamookak would like to see the cairn honouring Paddy Gibson rebuilt. That doesn't seem a lot to ask.
Ken McGoogan
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1 comment:

Russell Potter said...

Hi Ken,

Fascinating post! Looks as though you have the scoop on this -- it would explain the lack of the Neumayer photo or the tin box! Please do keep us all posted as to developments!

Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.

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