Renatus' Kayak: The story of a Labrador Inuk, An American G.I. and a Secret World War II Weather Station


Renatus' Kayak: The story of a Labrador Inuk, An American G.I. and a Secret World War II Weather Station
By Rozanne Enerson Junker

ISBN 978-1-7750815-0-0

Woody Belsheim had one question when he gave his niece, Rozanne Enerson Junker, a miniature sealskin kayak made for him in 1944 by Inuit hunter Renatus Tuglavina: Would it be possible for you to find out what happened to Renatus ... and to his daughter, Harriot?  

Woody had seldom spoken about his World War II service when he and six other G.I.s manned a secret American weather station in Hebron, Labrador.  But sixty-five years later, and nearing the end of his life, he hoped to find out what had become of the Inuit family who had transformed what could have been a year of painful isolation into a year of unimaginable adventures.

Using the kayak as a spirit guide, Junker travelled thousands of miles across Canada, the United States and England. Each step along the way, stunning discoveries presented themselves:  the existence of a weather station lost to time, Renatus' larger than life footprint on Labrador history, and his and Harriot's tragic destinies.

Renatus' Kayak is a true detective story that delves into military history, Inuit culture, wartime politics and a star-crossed love.


"The story of Renatus Tuglavina and the secret American weather station in Hebron, Labrador is a story that ought to be told to our children and grandchildren. It is the story of an Inuk who led with courage and determination and wasn’t afraid to take a stand for what he believed was right. It is a lost story of the role Hebron played in World War II and a story of how our cultural heritage lives on long after we ourselves have passed."

- Johannes Lampe, President, Nunatsiavut Government

"Northern Labrador is a haunted land inhabited by ghosts, memories and the mingled lives of Inuit, Moravian missionaries, fur traders and, for a while during WWII, U.S. servicemen who manned a remote weather station there. Prompted by a model kayak, acquired by her uncle who was stationed at Hebron, Rozanne Junker has crafted a subtle blending of historical accounts to reveal the complexity of competing personalities and interests. Versatile and quintessential, the kayak was a critical element to the success of Inuit survival. Renatus' Kayak carries a heavy burden of the social complexities that have shaped the emergence of Inuit autonomy and governance as well as vestiges of lives now vanished."

- Stephen Loring, Arctic Studies Center, Smithsonian Institution

"I would like to first congratulate you on a wonderful piece of work! Thoroughly researched and presented, your book delves into a depth of personal history that we seldom see. This is an important contribution on a number of levels: your own family history, social relationships between Inuit and non-Inuit, Labrador history, war-time history, feelings of the heart, and the story of your own research experiences. [...] You have gifted us all a great story."

- Kenneth R. Lister, Assistant Curator of Anthropology, retired, Royal Ontario Museum

"Labrador is a remote, unforgiving and fascinating corner of the world, known only to a few.  As a sailor visiting outports with the Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland, and as a military historian many years later finding an unmanned German weather station erected in Martin Bay in 1943, I had many unanswered questions.  One of these questions was answered when learning from this remarkable book that another secret weather station existed – only this time manned by our Allies, the Americans, and located near the Moravian Mission settlement of Hebron.  As someone 'come from away,' Renatus' Kayak provided me a wonderful context in which to better understand Labrador's significant role in the Second World War, how one G.I. was taken under the wing of an Inuit family and how the memories of a single year can last a lifetime."

- W. A. B. (Alec) Douglas, Naval Historian, Ottawa

"Whether this is the stuff of Hollywood, of magic, serendipity, or fate, it is a story Rozanne Enerson Junker was chosen to tell."

- Jamie Brake, Archaeologist, Nunatsiavut Government

“I enjoyed your book. One of the reviewers said it would be a great movie. I think that’s actually true. It is a powerful story…”

- Kevin J., Portland, Oregon

“Oh my goodness! I was so engrossed in this wonderful story… the level of work, time, thought and imagination you put into it is impressive on every level!”

- Paula M., San Francisco, California

Click here to read more testimonials.

Book's Facebook Page: @RenatusKayak

Media Coverage

Renatus' Kayak - Media Kit (Book synopsis, Author Bio, Photos,...)


In the Footsteps of Abraham Ulrikab (Softcover)


In the Footsteps of Abraham Ulrikab: The events of 1880-1881
by France Rivet
Translation of Abraham's and Johan Adrian Jacobsen's diaries by Hartmut Lutz
344 pages / 100 photographs
ISBN 978-0-9936740-6-8


The story of Abraham Ulrikab is one of the saddest and most moving stories in Nunatsiavut (Labrador), Inuit and Canadian history. Hoping to improve his family’s living conditions, in August 1880, Abraham agreed to head to Europe to become the latest “exotic” attraction in the ethnographic shows organized by Carl Hagenbeck, a menagerie owner and pioneer of 'human zoos.' Accompanied by his wife, their two young daughters, and a few countrymen, the group of eight was exhibited in zoos in Hamburg, Berlin, Prague, Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Krefeld and Paris. Very soon, the Inuit realized their coming to Europe was a mistake and they longed to return home to Labrador.

"It is too long until the year is over because we would very much like to return to our country, because we are unable to stay here forever, yes indeed, it is impossible!," wrote Abraham in the diary he kept during his journey.

Sadly, none of the Inuit saw their homeland again, all were killed by smallpox less than four months after setting foot in Europe.

Based on four years of research, the book In the Footsteps of Abraham Ulrikab finally reveals the truth about the fate of the Inuit’s remains, and brings to light an opportunity to change the course of history: 134 years after the death of Abraham, Maria, Nuggasak, Paingu, Tigianniak, Tobias, Sara and Ulrike, their wish to come home to Labrador could eventually become a reality!

The historical account will enable you to:

  1. Follow the Inuit's journey step by step from them being recruited in Labrador to their death in Europe.
  2. Discover how their remains ended up in museums and whether or not these remains were exhibited in Paris.
  3. Read Abraham's own moving words. Of the 35,000 individuals who were exhibited in Europe from the 1870s to the 1930s, Abraham is one of a handful to have left notes describing his experience as an "exhibit." See these 19th century "human zoos" from the perspective of someone who, contrary to what the Europeans were expecting, was literate, educated and could reflect on these civilized people.
  4. Understand the events through the writings of the main actors of the 19th century: Johan Adrian Jacobsen; the journalists who reported on the Inuit's tour; the members of the Moravian community who opposed Abraham's departure or who visited him at the Berlin zoo; the anthropologists who studied the Inuit either before or after their death; the physicians who admitted the Inuit to the Paris hospital or performed the autopsies; the police officials who authorized the exhumation of the remains, etc.
  5. Read the full report of the commission of inquiry into the Inuit's death. Discover their conclusions as to where the Inuit were infected by smallpox, what could have been done to prevent their contamination, and who was to blame.
  6. Put faces on most of the individuals who had a role to play in the Inuit's story through the 100 photos and illustrations contained in the book.


Congratulations on your book [...] What I really like about it, apart from the good research and documentation, as well as the pictures introducing all persons and places involved, is the fact that you present the historical facts from all sides, but do not judge.

Dr. Hilke Thode-Arora, anthropologist, specializing in ethnographic shows in the colonial period, Munich, Germany

I wanted to congratulate you most sincerely for the work you did on Abraham Ulrikab. If it had been a PhD thesis, I would have gladly granted you the Cum Laude designation. Of all the studies I have read about the Jardin d'acclimatation's 'visitors,' yours is the most thorough and by far the best. (Translation of the original text in French)

Gérard Lévy, Expert-merchant – photography from its origins to 1940 (specializing in the exhibitions held at the Jardin d’acclimatation), Paris, France

It's really a very comprehensive work with references that leave us speechless. [...] Congratulations, France! In your own way, you have allowed for the truth to be known and for the Inuit community to get back a part of its history. (Translation of the original text in French)

Raymonde Arsenault, Maria, Quebec

I finished reading In the footsteps of Abraham Ulrikab and it was a pleasure to follow the Inuit's journey. It was indeed very interesting, although a little disturbing sometimes. But realizing that this was the way to do things at the time, I am pleased that a century later, and in some respects, humanity nonetheless somewhat evolved.

I was also impressed by the amount of work, research and trips you made to gather all this information which you transmit to us so generously in your book. I thank you. (Translation of the original text in French)

Louise R., Gatineau, Quebec

Click here to read more testimonials.

English version also available as a PDF or EPUB download.
Also available in French.

Book's Facebook Page: @InTheFootstepsofAbrahamUlrikab

Voyage with the Labrador Eskimos, 1880-1881 (softcover)


Voyage with the Labrador Eskimos, 1880-1881
Original manuscript by Johan Adrian Jacobsen
English translation by Hartmut Lutz
86 pages, 14 illustrations/photographs
ISBN 978-0-9936740-5-1

In August 1880, Norwegian Johan Adrian Jacobsen arrives in Labrador on the Eisbär. He’s hoping to recruit 'Eskimos' willing to follow him to Europe to become the latest attraction in the ethnographic shows organized by Carl Hagenbeck, a menagerie owner and pioneer of 'human zoos.'

Two families accept Jacobsen’s offer, but soon after their arrival in Europe they realize their decision had been the wrong one. From that point on, their dearest wish is to return home to Labrador. Unfortunately, within four months the group no longer exists, all eight were killed by smallpox.

Johan Adrian Jacobsen’s diary being an essential source for understanding the events that occurred over 134 years ago, we are presenting, in this book, the English translation of his diary. Discover the moods, thoughts and qualms of this 27 year old man; from his unsuccessful attempt to recruit 'Eskimos' in Greenland, his despair to see that Moravian missionaries in Labrador also oppose his project, his jubilation when Abraham agrees to accompany him with his family, to his shock of facing the first two deaths only minutes after doctors had told him there was no reason to be alarmed, the heartbreaking moment when Abraham has to hand over his three year old daughter to a hospital in Germany, and finally, the horror of being admitted to the smallpox unit of a Paris hospital where the 'Eskimos' as well as Europeans suffer and die around him.

"When I saw to Ulrike shortly after midnight, I noticed that she too would end her struggle soon. I tried to comfort her, but she waved me off with her hand, as if she did not want to see me at all. That was no surprise, because she knew that all the others had gone before her. I felt guilty to a certain degree for the death of these unfortunate people, even if unintentionally. Had I not come to Labrador, they would still be alive like all their relatives." (Johan Adrian Jacobsen, January 16, 1881)


What they said about Voyage with the Labrador Eskimos, 1880-1881

"I read the book Voyage With the Labrador Eskimos, 1880-1881 all in one go.  What a sad story and all this because they neglected to administer a vaccine which was available. This book, a particular and a slightly repetitive journal, is a valuable addition to the Diary of Abraham Ulrikab. Both illustrate the Europeans’ exploitation attitude for commercial purposes and the curiosity of the Inuit who want to see the wonders of a country they cannot imagine." (Translation of the original text in French)

Dr. Denis Saint-Onge, O.C., Emeritus Professor, Department of Geography, University of Ottawa, ON

"WOW! What a great book. I read it in one go. It is really exciting and gives a wonderful view of the times."

Marianne Stenbaek, professor of Cultural Studies, English Department, McGill University, Montréal, QC

"I loved it very much!!! Like Johan Adrian started his journey, I slowly began my reading then I really got into it, carefully following the events. I was moved and saddened by the death of the 'Eskimos.' This diary is like a thriller we know the ending to, but we seek to understand the circumstances that led to their death." (Translation of the original text in French)

Sylvie Pinsonneault, Montréal, QC

This book can be read as a stand-alone but it is important to understand that it is being published as part of an endeavour that ultimately aims to repatriate to Canada the Inuit's human remains. Voyage With the Labrador Eskimos, 1880-1881 is therefore being published as a complement to the book In the Footsteps of Abraham Ulrikab: The Events of 1880-1881 which provides the full account of the Inuit's story based on the primary source documents we were able to uncover by the time the book had to go to press.

Also available as a PDF download and in French (softcover & PDF).


Arctic Flora


For many, the Arctic is a synonym of “ice desert.” But this land, which at a first glance seems so bare and desolate, is actually full of life, colours and textures during the summer months. A myriad of plants reveal themselves to those who take the time to look at their feet rather than simply scan the horizon.

Through this notebook, we invite you to discover twenty or so floral species that have braved the elements and adapted to life above the 55th parallel. In fact, all images were photographed between the 58th and 80th parallels.

This 6" X 9" (15 X 23 cm) notebook has a total of 80 pages and 20 colour photographs. Pages are lined.

To view the interior of the Arctic Flora notebook click on the image of the cover below:

Cover of the Arctic Flora notebook

Polar Bears


Each fall, polar bears of western Hudson Bay migrate towards the town of Churchill, Manitoba. They know it is in this area that the ice will soon begin its formation, allowing them to finally resume their seal hunting activities.

This notebook aims at sharing some scenes from the daily life of Churchill’s polar bears as they are patiently awaiting the return of the ice.

This 6" X 9" (15 X 23 cm) notebook has a total of 100 pages and 25 black and white photographs. Pages are lined.

To view the interior of the Polar Bears notebook click on the image of the cover below:

Cove of the Polar Bears notebook

Wildlife North of 60


With fewer than 1% of Canadians living above the 60th parallel, these northern lands may seem inaccessible and inhospitable. Nevertheless, just like the humans who have braved the elements to adopt these high latitudes as their homeland, a wide variety of wildlife species share the territory whether on a permanent or temporary basis. This notebook is intended to introduce you to twenty or so of these animal species. Whether they are terrestrial, avian or marine, all of these species have adapted and won their bet to survive and make the most of the Arctic environment. Surprise! You may recognize some that live near you.

This 6" X 9" (15 X 23 cm) notebook has a total of 100 pages and 25 black and white photographs. Pages are lined.

To view the interior of the Wildlife north of 60 notebook click on the image of the cover below:

Cover of the Wildlife North of 60 notebook

Arctic Ice


As this notebook accompanies you in your activities, may it provide you a few moments of total escapism and wonder at the magnificence and variety of the glacial landscapes of the Arctic. May you discover how the Arctic masters the use of ice to create works of art that combine elegance and majesty. These photographs are the result of several trips to the Arctic over a period of 12 years.

This 6" X 9" (15 X 23 cm) notebook has a total of 100 pages and 25 black and white photographs. Pages are lined.

To view the interior of the Arctic Ice notebook click on the image of the cover below:

Arctic Ice Notebook cover image



Nunatsiavut (“our beautiful land”) extends along the Labrador coast from the community of Rigolet all the way to the Torngat Mountains National Park (“place inhabited by spirits ”) at the northern tip of the peninsula. A highly symbolic place in Inuit legends, the Torngat mountains are mainland Canada’s highest mountains east of the Rockies.

This notebook is designed to introduce you to this breathtaking and awe-inspiring land, and to the Inuit’s rich and fascinating culture and history. Hopefully these few pictures will entice you to discover the Labrador Inuit’s homeland for yourself.

This 6" X 9" (15 X 23 cm) notebook has a total of 80 pages and 20 colour photographs. Pages are lined.

To view the interior of the Nunatsiavut notebook click on the image of the cover below:

Nunatsiavut Notebook cover image