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Dick, Lyle. Muskox Land: Ellesmere Island in the Age of Contact. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2001.


This book, Muskox Land (the English translation of the Inuit name for Ellesmere Island, Umingmak Nuna), analyzes the history of the island, the surrounding High Arctic area, the nature of the connections between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal peoples during polar exploration, and continued contact in the late 19th and 20th centuries. In addition to looking at their interactions, the work also examines the role that wildlife and the environment played in this relationship. Aspects of Braudel’s approach regarding how to analyze continuity and change were employed as a framework for the book. Sources that have been utilized in previous research/publications as well as ones that have not been examined before were used to develop historiography regarding the nature of what occurred in the region; for example, in order for the Inuit perspective to be more fully and accurately examined, oral history investigations were conducted. Dick’s goal for the book goes beyond a regular narrative history of the region: “this history of Ellesmere Island may show that the past is never played out in a single progression but rather in a counterpoint of different rhythmic elements. If we can isolate these component rhythms and discern how they interacted with one another historically, it may be possible to reconstruct an image of the past that does justice to its rich diversity…we need to move beyond linear exploration narratives to acknowledge both the continuities of nature and culture, and the changes precipitated by cultural contact…[and how] the many layers of the past interact to shape the destinies of humans in their environment.”

Shannon Leggett