Questions & Answers Wk 02

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Every week Team GoNorth! answers ten questions related to the module topic from student explorers -- so stay tuned and submit YOUR questions!

Mille here: That is such a beautiful book! I hope you are writing your book review and sharing your thoughts with all of us! I have never actually heard the legend told--a lot of the time the way we interact with legends on the trail is in the form of story telling through song, dance and art like wall-hangings! A couple of years ago we were dogsledding through a territory in Canada called Nunavut (this means "Our Land" in Inuktitut (?????? ???), the language of the Inuit that live in this region). There we visited a place where Elders and local artists gather to makes huge wall hangings; I think a story, or at least a version very similar to this, was the inspiration for one of the hangings--as with all story telling there are many ways to tell very similar stories! Now I have to share with you that this, tracing of legends and stories, was the reason for running expeditions for my favorite Arctic explorer!! That would by Knud Rasmussen, a Native explorer from Greenland. He had the idea that he thought his people, the Inuit, somehow had spread around the circumpolar Arctic.. and he set out to investigate it by way of listening to the stories and legends that people told.

Today we know that indeed some 11,000 years ago (or more) people that were in what is now Chukotka, came across what is now the Bering Strait, to the land of what is Alaska... And then over the next 7,000 years (!!) these people, the ancestors of the Inuit, made their way with the seasons - walking, with sled dogs and by boats like the umiak and kayak - south across Canada, and eventually to Greenland! That is how the Inuit became a circumpolar people!

Back when Knud Rasmussen did his very long dogsled expeditions some 100 years ago, this was not something a lot of people thought was a theory with much hold in reality. To do his part in exploring for answers, Knud set out on a 20,000 kilomter (some 12,000 miles) long dogsled journey that took upwards of 3 years. He started in Greenland, dogsledded to Canada, along its coast, onwards to the coast of Alaska, across the Bering Strait (you could do that back then, today its too melted) to, yes, Chukotka! All along the way, he listened to stories and legends, writing them down... This is back before radio, TV, Internet -- at the time where Inuit people had little or no contact at all with people from other places -- so it was not like stories had a way of spreading from one place to the other like it can today! Still, Knud Rasmussen found that the sam e or very similar stories were told by different peoples who had no contact from Greenland to Chukotka. One was a legend about a mosquito  that Knud Rasmussen grew up with as a kid, he heard that legend all the way from Greenland to the very tip of Alaska. Is that not amazing!

We read the book, The Polar Bear Son: An Inuit Tale.  Supposedly this is a favorite legend of the Inuit.  Have you heard anyone in the villages tell that story?

submitted by:
Ms Stock

Polar Huskies have was is called a "double-layered" coat. Closest to their skin is a thick undercoat of wool for insulation and warmth; and the outer coat is made up of long, oily "guard hairs" that protect the wool from getting wet. This means they are very protected when outside and that they easily overheat when inside.

So, on the expedition, we will dig holes for them in the snow. If there is any wind, we will pile snow to make a small wall blocking them from the wind at the end of the day. The Polar Huskies then curl up to cover their nose with their tail and let the snow drift over them like a blanket.

Where do the sled dogs sleep at night?  Do they stay inside a tent or outside?  What protects them from the weather?

submitted by:
Aubrey J

Good (and important!) :) Question!

We will be talking all about food and toilet paper in a trail report real soon...

How many rolls of toilet paper do you bring along on your adventure?

submitted by:
Betty Jo

Depending on how warm or cold it is, we may have as many as six or seven layers just on our upper-bodies. We layer numerous pairs of pants and shirts and each one of us has to fit all of our clothing into one duffel bag.

How many layers of clothes do you have to wear?

submitted by:
David