Naujaat students, staff to guide Scottish expedition retracing Franklin search

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Students and staff at Tuugaalik High School are on the land this week, guiding a Scottish documentary team that is retracing the search for Sir John Franklin and his crew.

Tuugaalik High School teachers Gaspare Minaudo, left, and Laimmiki Malliki work on the school qamutiks for the Arctic expedition. Malliki, the lead guide, will be leading some senior high students and teachers as they travel with a Scottish documentary crew. photo courtesy of the Department of Education/Government of Nunavut

The trek, known as Arctic Return, will follow the route taken by Scottish explorer John Rae in 1849 as he led a quest to find Franklin and his 128 crew, missing with their ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.

The journey will start in Naujaat and end in King William Island. Students and staff from Tuugaalik High School will show the way to Rae’s historic home, an hour outside of Naujaat.

Rae was never successful in finding the Franklin expedition but he submitted a report to Britain in 1854 outlining the tragic fate that surely befell Franklin and his crew, based on information provided by Inuit.

“The school intends to incorporate this visit into their regular lands program since the expedition focuses on the importance of Inuit oral history and land skills in the success of their trip and that of Rae’s 170 years ago,” stated a Department of Education news release.