Burial of John Franklin. Author: me


Kabloonas is the way in which the Inuit who live in the north part of Canada call those who haven´t their same ascendency.

The first time i read this word was in the book "Fatal Passage" by Ken McGoogan, when, as the result of the conversations between John Rae and some inuit, and trying to find any evidence of the ill-fated Sir John Franklin Expedition, some of then mentioned that they watched how some kabloonas walked to die in the proximities of the river Great Fish.

I wish to publish this blog to order and share all those anecdotes that I´ve been finding in the arctic literature about arctic expeditions. My interest began more than 15 years ago reading a little book of my brother about north and south pole expeditions. I began reading almost all the bibliography about Antarctic expeditions and the superknown expeditions of Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton, etc. After I was captured by the Nansen, Nobile and Engineer Andree. But the most disturbing thing in that little book, full of pictures, was the two pages dedicated to the last Franklin expedition of the S.XIX, on that moment I thought that given the time on which this and others expeditions happened, few or any additional information could be obtained about it. I couldn´t imagine that after those two pages It would be a huge iceberg full of stories, unresolved misteries, anecdotes, etc. I believe that this iceberg, on the contrary than others, would continue growing instead melting.

sábado, 22 de septiembre de 2012


Nobody can say that the arctic isn´t full of strange coincidences and nice stories about  strong friendship and eternal love that can even make you forget the dark side of this remote countries.

In 1821 George Back, one of the two suitors of the Indian woman "Greenstockings" (take a look at this old post to remember ) was rejected by her, and after trying to challenge to a duel at Robert Hood, he was sent by Franklin towards that famous trip of more than one thousand miles (as say the song) which would be one of the main achievements of his life. 

In 1834, thirteen years after this broken love, George Back, in the course of the rescue expedition for John Ross, re encountered his old beloved. 

The fact was materialised by George in a vivid way, as he usually did,  in a chapter which is charmingly called "Indian Belle" . One cold and foggy day, groups of Indians sought shelter in their tents, or were forming groups in the open air near fires in one of their camps.

George called her by his name when he recognise her in the middle of one of those group of Indians. Greenstockings was carrying a little child in his back. George call him  "urchin" in his narration. Nothing is said about his age, but obviously Greenstockings wasn´t carrying the daugther of Robert Hood at her back, she had to have thirteen years at that time.

Greenstockings laughed when George called her by his name. She said to him literally that "she was an old woman now". The Indians were suffering from starvation and cold, those winters (1833 and 1834)  were particularly extreme, they reached temperatures under 70 degrees below zero. After begging for help to their doctor, George could make her a portrait. In his own words Greenstockings had still the beauty which she had in the past. 

"However, notwithstanding all this, she was still the beauty of her tribe ; and, with that consciousness which belongs to all belles, savage or polite, seemed by no means displeased when I sketched her portrait."

You can read directly from his journal here in the pages 306 and 307.

This is, in my opinion, a fine story which bring some warm to the extremely coldness of the arctic and to our hearts.

5 comentarios:

  1. If someone has the enough interest and the enough money to purchase the article of the below link, then after... Please tell me what happened with her and her daughter!!!,


  2. I'd like to find out, too. It sounds like Back's affections did not wane much over all those years!

  3. Well, perhaps the people who are going to do the film about the Coppermine expedition ("A discovery of strangers) had more information that we have now.

    It is a pity that we don´t have the painting of her of that date (1834).

  4. And here we have a review of the book which gives you an idea about the content, it seems to be very interesting indeed.


    And with the permission of Russell, his own puntuation here:


    Oh No!! another book on the row!!!

  5. Yikes, that reading list keeps growing! We will be buried in books and articles soon!