A 1926-27 Greenland expedition aboard the Bowdoin, with the purpose of setting up new magnetic stations and resettling old ones.
p. 47-8: In refutation of statements made by certain well-known explorers to the superiority of Eskimo morals and customs over our own and as to the expressed hope that civilization might never be the lot of their favorite tribe, an even cursory study of the works of our earliest explorers will suffice to prove that such a comparison, if it can be called such, is mere nonsense. Without exception, all early travelers found all Eskimo tribes to be thieving, lying, immoral, unmoral, and filthy. This is a strong statement, but it must be made in the interest of truth as much as I admire the character of my many Eskimo friends who have traveled with me for thousands of miles, and have shared with me the dangers and privations as well as the pleasures and contentment of the Northland.
p. 75, by contrast is this passage about one of Peary’s Eskimo assistants, Panikpak: When questioned as to his thoughts when starving on the Polar Sea in 1906, he replied with a smile, ‘We didn’t worry. We let Peary do that!’ And when questioned by me as to our real purposes in life and as to just why we were here, playing the part assigned to us in the drama of life, he replied, “I have often thought about it, and wondered why—I can think of one reason only—be kind to each other and help each other.’
These are the thoughts and words of a so-called ‘savage.’
p. 114: We have here a very primitive people, I mean that they clothe themselves in raw skins, never bathe, eat largely of raw meat, live in a whole in the ground. They have no books, no schools, no written or even sign language, no marriage laws, no laws at all but the laws of custom, no king or queen or chief, or leader of any kind, no music but the most primitive…, and yet it is my opinion and that of every man who has accompanied me on my various trips that these so-called savages are every bit as intelligent as the most highly civilized.
Chapter 9 is the usual account of winter activities, with scarcely a mention of reading, although his historical asides do show extensive reading of the polar literature, some of which he quotes at length.
p. 245, enroute home: I may say that these hardy Labrador-Newfoundland fishermen never use a chart, or what they call a ‘sheet.’ Their reasons are two, namely, hardly a man on board can read and write, and as a youngster in our country knows his A B C’s, so these mariners know every submerged ledge, rock, and island. This coast is their school and their daily lessons are well learned.