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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/188

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

it came from Greenland or Hudson Bay, or from Alaska, and even what part of Alaska it came from.

I had spent two years among the Alaskan Eskimos when I was one of the naturalists of the Point Barrow Expedition in 1881-'83, and was especially interested in anything concerning them, particularly about their implements and weapons, as I had roade a thorough study of these while preparing the report on the ethnological results of the expedition. Consequently, my curiosity was immediately aroused by a little notice that I accidentally ran across in the Norwegian scientific paper Naturen. Speaking of the meeting of the Videnskabs-selskab (Scientific Society) of Christiania, on June 11, 1886, the paper said that the curator of the museum exhibited a throwing stick found among driftwood at Godthaab, Greenland, different from those used in Greenland, but just like those used in Alaska. It was suggested that it had made the same journey as the "Jeannette relics" found at Julianehaab. Now, I have heretofore been inclined to be rather skeptical about the "Jeannette relics," but here, it seemed to me, was something that could be corroborated. I felt sure that if I could see the specimen, or a good drawing of it, I could, with the help of the museum collections (I was employed at the Smithsonian Institution at the time), make absolutely sure whether it was Alaskan or not.

At that time I was in correspondence with Dr. Rink, the famous authority on the Eskimos of Greenland, since deceased, but who was then living in Christiania. So I wrote to him for information, and soon received all that I wanted, with a carefully drawn outline of the specimen. There was no doubt about it at all! It was perfectly Alaskan in pattern, and, moreover, so like specimens from a certain region near Bering Strait that one could almost be certain that it came from there, I at once wrote to Dr. Rink, telling him of my conclusions.

On the strength of my identification of the specimen Dr. Rink published an article in the journal of the Danish Geographical Society, reviewing the whole history of the implement, and in doing so produced more evidence of the authenticity of the "find." It seems that Dr. Rink picked up the specimen himself while serving as an official of the Danish Government at Godthaab. This at once disposes of any suspicion of its being a "plant." It was lying on the beach among the driftwood, and though he and his Eskimo companions recognized it as different from anything used in Danish Greenland, he laid it aside without paying particular attention to it, fancying it came from East Greenland, as it is well known that the driftwood found on the west coast of Greenland comes down the eastern shore with the current and turns up round Cape Farewell. He kept it till 1886,