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In the footsteps of Abraham Ulrikab: A Rose for Noggasak

Version française de ce texte


Some of you are aware that for over two years, I have been involved in a research project about two Inuit families from northern Labrador that were brought to Europe in 1880 to be exhibited in zoos. The eight individuals were exhibited from Hamburg to Paris via Berlin, Prague, Krefeld and Darmstadt. Unfortunately, their path crossed that of smallpox and, in less than four months, all were dead. Three died in Germany, the other five in Paris.

A book based on the diary kept by Abraham (now known as Abraham Ulrikab), was published in English and German. But not everything has been said on this story. My research trip to Paris in November 2011 quickly convinced me! In order to trace all the facts surrounding the European tour of the group of Inuit, research must be conducted in both Europe and North America and in various languages: English, German, French and Inuktitut! I am working on this project in collaboration with two German colleagues, Mechtild and Wolfgang Opel as well as with an Inuit colleague, Zippie Nochasak. Recently, as part of our research, the three of them paid a very special visit to the Darmstadt cemetery in Germany.

For this first article about our research, I thought I would provide you with a link to the text Mechtild and Wolfgang recently published on their Trimaris blog:

English text “A rose for Noggasak”
Original German text “Eine Rose für Noggasak”

It will give you a short introduction to the story of both families and the reasons for Mechtild, Wolfgang and Zippie’s visit to the Darmstadt cemetery.

In remembrance of Noggasak. Copyright : Wolfgang Opel

Looking forward to being able to write again about this fascinating story!
France Rivet

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