Subject: sea hunter
Culture: Kalaallit Inuit / Greenland Eskimo
Setting: Little Ice Age, Greenland 16-18thc
Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)
* Seaver 1996 p142
"An Eskimo tale that Henry Rink claimed was unique to West Greenland may have its roots in a real, though undatable event. Its subject is reminiscent of incidents in Norse sagas, and Robert McGhee has pointed out that indeed there is an Icelandic version of the same story, told from the Norse point of view, but containing Eskimo words. According to the Eskimo version, in the Qaqortoq (Hvalsey) fjord, in the heart of the Eastern Settlement, a Norseman was gathering shells on the shore when an Eskimo kayaker came by. The Norseman repeatedly challenged the Eskimo to try to hurt him with his lance. The Eskimo resisted at first, but at last he did as he was told, killing the Norseman. The Eskimo's chief, Ungurtoq, told him not to worry about the Norseman's death, and indeed there was no revenge for two summers. At the end of the third winter, however, the kayaker decided to kill another Norseman, and this time the Norse turned out in numbers and killed many Eskimos. The Eskimos retaliated by burning many of the Norse in their houses, and there were several more murders before tempers cooled off."
* Paterek 1994 p
* Burton 1890 p
"The Greenlander's 'nuguit' is mentioned by Crantz as armed with the narwhal's horn, and the wooden handle is carved in relief with two wooden figures."
"The tusks had long been part of Inuit culture. Then starting around A.D. 1000, Viking traders began selling the tusks, which they found surfacing on the shores of places like Greenland, to other Europeans. Historians have found evidence of the tough tooth being fashioned into weapons for hunting and fighting."
"The tusk of the now-endangered Narwhal can grow anywhere from five to ten feet in length and is a sensory organ, covered with nerves on the outer part of the tusk. So that tusk (which is actually a long, spiral tooth) doesn't just fall out or shed naturally. For every Narwhal tusk, there's a dead Narwhal out there somewhere. For the Inuit, they use the occasion to make hunting weapons from the tusks, and the length is ideal for making a spear."