Finnie was a Canadian photographer, filmmaker, and lecturer who gave regular presentations on the Arctic throughout the 1930s. He “spent a year in the western Arctic between Herschel and King William Island in 1930, revisited the region in 1934 and 1939, and gives here sketches and essays on its people, the Eskimos and the whites, and their way of life” (Arctic Bibliography 4991). In this work, he was particularly concerned with the impact of new sub-Arctic wells and mines, as well as other forms of development, on the native population. [ABEBOOKS 11/24/2019]
The book is essentially a collection of autobiographical stories of Finnie’s Arctic adventures, with no connections that I could find with print culture. It makes a compelling defense of the noble characteristics of the Eskimo before tainted by Western civilization.
p. 51-66, Chapter VI, contains an hilarious account on a false lead to Franklin relics (and even his burial place) near the North Magnetic Pole. Finnie claims to be the first to fly over the magnetic pole but is embarrassed by the suspect story. See a Canadian Dept. of Interior pamphlet, “Canada’s Western Arctic,” for an account.
p. 197: Bill [Storr] and I, in common with most white men living in the Arctic, had picked up a lot of nouns and verbs which we could clumsily string together to convey elementary ideas, and the Copper Eskimos, few of whom knew any English, would considerably simplify their sentences when talking to us. Conversation between Eskimo and whites resolved itself into the jargon developed by the early whalers, utilizing some several hundred Eskimo and pseudo-Eskimo words, and a few English words, with grammar thrown to the four winds. The Eskimo language is far too complex to be mastered by a white man unless he is a serious student who applies himself to it, has a keen ear, a good memory, an ability to pronounce syllables contain in no other language. Some white men who have lived most of their lives in the Arctic, and who have had Eskimo wives, have never advanced beyond the whalers’ jargon. I could count on the fingers of one hand all the white men of my acquaintance throughout the Canadian Arctic who could speak the language so smoothly as to be mistaken for Eskimos by Eskimos.