Give Me My Father's Body: The Life of Minik, the New York Eskimo

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Simon and Schuster, Feb 27, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 320 pages
In his search for the North Pole at the turn of the twentieth century, the renowned Robert E. Peary, long celebrated as an icon of modern exploration, used the Eskimos of northwestern Greenland as the human resources for his expeditions. Sailing aboard a ship called Hope in 1897, Peary entered New York harbor with six Eskimos as his cargo. Depositing them with the American Museum of Natural History as live "specimens" to be poked, measured, and observed by the paying public, Peary abruptly abandoned any responsibility for their care. Four of the Eskimos died within a year. One managed to gain passage back to Greenland. Only the sixth, a boy of six or seven with a precociously solemn smile, remained, orphaned and adrift in a bewildering metropolis. His name was Minik. Here, a century after the fact, is his story.

A searing true tale of extraordinary darkness told with intensity and vigilance, Give Me My Father's Body is Kenn Harper's absorbing, intricately documented account of ruthless imperialism in the name of science, of cruel deceptions and false burials, and of the short, strange, and tragic life of the boy known as the New York Eskimo.


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GIVE ME MY FATHER'S BODY: The Life of Minik, the New York Eskimo

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A strange, well-recounted tale of scientific arrogance and cultural misunderstanding. In 1897 the fame-hungry Arctic explorer Robert Peary arrived in northwestern Greenland, the domain of supposedly ... Read full review

Give Me My Father's Body: The Life of Minik, the New York Eskimo

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Originally self-published in Greenland in 1986, this affecting work details the short, sad life of Minik, an orphaned Eskimo raised in America at the turn of the 20th century. On the surface, it is a ... Read full review


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About the author (2001)

For more than thirty years, Kenn Harper has lived in Eskimo communities in the Baffin Region and in Qaanaaq, Greenland. He has worked as a teacher, development officer, historian, linguist, and businessman. He speaks Inuktitut, the Eskimo language of the eastern Canadian Arctic, and has written extensively on northern history and the Inuktitut language. He now lives in Iqaluit, capital of the new Arctic territory of Nunavut, and was recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society.

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