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The Big Nail

The white men who came to the Arctic searching for the North Pole described it as a point that was only geographical and mathematical. There would be no sign to indicate that they had completed their journey over a terrible ocean of drifting and shifting ice.

The Inuit did not believe them. Why would anyone risk so much to go to an imaginary point? Not even a Kabloona (white man) would be so insane as to risk death to go to nothing. They concluded that there must be a giant metal spike at the top of the world. They called it Tigi-su - the Big Nail.

To the white explorers, the "Eskimos" were childlike, uneducated savages. Time has shown that this attitude was unjustified - in the hostile Arctic environment, it was the explorers who were the uneducated children.

Without the Inuit to help them, teach them, hunt for them, and guide them, many more would have died from exposure, starvation and scurvy. Without such help, the journeys to find the Pole, and the Northwest Passage, would have been impossible.

Nevertheless, when Robert Peary finally reached the "Big Nail", the Inuit who helped him, and the four who accompanied him, received no credit. If mentioned at all, Egingwah, Ootah, Ooqueah, and Seegloowere were described only as "four Polar Eskimos".

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Library: Exploration, Inuit, People/Explorers
Sled Dogs, Arctic
Links: Inuit, Northwest Passage, Arctic
Arctic Maps & Weather Reports
Exploration Map, Northwest Passage Map

Double-click any unlinked word DICTIONARY: Just "double-click" any unlinked word on this page for the definition from Merriam-Webster's Student Electronic Dictionary at Word Central.
Arctic Library ARCTIC LIBRARY & GLOSSARY: Check this section for an index of the rest of the things you really need to know about the Arctic.
All sorts of Arctic Maps ARCTIC MAPS & WEATHER REPORTS: Maps of the Northwest Passage, explorers' routes, iceberg sources, Nunavut, the Arctic by treeline, temperature...
Links to related sites. ARCTIC LINKS: Even more information! Links to sites related to the Arctic and "Iceberg: the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots".
A Guide to Arctic Sunrise and Sunset GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?

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