Collecting the Pieces: The Canadian Arctic Expedition and Salvage Ethnology
The Canadian Arctic Expedition (CAE) was an important and highly publicized
research expedition in the Arctic from 1913-1918. It was the largest Canadian scientific
undertaking of its day whose primary goal was to explore the Arctic while studying its
geology, botany, and zoology and anthropology.47 The CAE divided into two teams: the
Northern Party headed by Canadian-born Arctic explorer Viljhalmur Stefansson and the
Southern Party headed by zoologist Rudolph Anderson.48 As a result of the death of the
famed French anthropologist Henri Beuchat in the Karluk tragedy, Jenness was
responsible for all of the anthropological work for both parties and collected all that he
could about the Inuinnait.49 Because of their remoteness from Quablunaat (southerners,
47 Diamond Jenness and Stuart E Jenness, Arctic Odyssey: The Diary of Diamond Jenness,
Ethnologist with the Canadian Arctic Expedition in Northern Alaska and Canada, 1913-1916 (Hull,
Quebec: Canadian Museum of Civilization, 1991), xxvii; Jenness, Material Culture; Jenness, Copper
Eskimo; Stefansson, The Friendly Arctic: The Story of Five Years in Polar Regions; Vilhjalmur
Stefansson and Gísli Pálsson, Writing on Ice: The Ethnographic Notebooks of Vilhjalmur Stefansson
(Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2001); Diamond Jenness, Stuart E Jenness, and
Canadian Museum of Civilization, Through Darkening Spectacles: Memoirs of Diamond Jenness
(Gatineau, Quebec: Canadian Museum of Civilization, 2008); Robert L. A. Hancock, “Diamond Jenness’s
Arctic Ethnography and the Potential for a Canadian Anthropology,” Histories of Anthropology Annual 2
(2006): 155–211; Richard J Diubaldo, Stefansson and the Canadian Arctic (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s
University Press, 1978); Gísli Pálsson and Keneva Kunz, Travelling Passions: The Hidden Life of
Vilhjalmur Stefansson (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2005); Stuart E Jenness, Stefansson, Dr.
Anderson and the Canadian Arctic Expedition, 1913-1918: A Story of Exploration, Science and
Sovereignty, Mercury Series History Paper no 56 (Gatineau, Québec: Canadian Museum of Civilization,
2011); David A Morrison, Arctic Hunters: the Inuit and Diamond Jenness (Hull, Quebec: Canadian
Museum of Civilization, 1992); Pamela R Stern and Lisa Stevenson, Critical Inuit studies: An Anthology
of Contemporary Arctic Ethnography (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006); Regna Darnell,
“North American Traditions in Anthropology: The Historiographic Baseline,” in A New History of
Anthropology, ed. Henrika Kuklick (Oxford, UK; Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Pub., 2008).
48 The Northern Party’s focus from most to least importance was 1. Geographical 2.
Oceanographical and marine biology 3. Geological 4. Megnetical 5. Anthropological 6. Bioogical
(terrestrial). In the Southern Party the priorities were: 1. Geological 2. Geographical 3. Anthropological 4.
Biological 4. Photographical.
49 The Karluk was trapped in sea ice for 13 months drifting towards Siberia before sinking. It
resulted in the deaths of 11 people of the 10 scientists, 13 crewmembers, 4 Inuit hunters, a seamstress, her
two children and one passenger who were on the ship. It was the single greatest Arctic Maritime disaster
in Canadian history since the Franklin Expedition. Stefansson’s departure from the ship with the best