TDISH: A Bloody Expedition

Samuel_Hearne_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_20110.jpgDuring the Summer of 1771, British explorer Samuel Hearne was traveling through the Far North of Canada on an exploratory mission for his employer, the Hudson Bay Company.  Hearne was accompanied by “Copper Indian” Dene guides through the permafrost and tundra of what is now the Canadian territory of Nunavut.  The explorers followed the Coppermine River to Coronation Gulf (a part of the Arctic Ocean).  However, if Hearne’s accounts are to believed, the Dene guides had ulterior motives to making this journey.  When they neared the coast, the small band came upon an unwitting group of Inuits at what became known as Bloody Falls (that name should be a hint!).  The Denes sneaked up on the camp and then massacred some 20 Inuits – men, women, and children – as Hearne watched on in horror.  Apparently, the Dene and the Inuit had been at war unbeknownst to the British outsider.  Modern readings of Hearne’s diary have cast some doubt onto the veracity of this story, but even if the details are fabricated, it still certainly represents a horrific and little remembered event from history.

Featured Image: “Bloody Falls.” By D. Gordon E. Robertson – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Image 1. “Samuel Hearne.” Public Domain.
McGrath, Robin. “Samuel Hearne and the Inuit Oral Tradition.” Studies in Canadian Literature. Volume 18, No. 2. 1993.