Ca­reer-long in­ter­est in Inuit his­tory

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - Community -

Me­mo­rial Univer­sity ar­chae­ol­o­gist Peter Whit­bridge be­came in­ter­ested in the Inuit ar­chae­o­log­i­cal record as an un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dent at the Univer­sity of Toronto more than 30 years ago.

His masters from McGill Univer­sity in Mon­treal dealt with Thule sub­sis­tence and diet. His 1999 Univer­sity of Ari­zona Ph.D. dis­ser­ta­tion was ti­tled, “The con­struc­tion of so­cial dif­fer­ence in a pre­his­toric Inuit whal­ing com­mu­nity.”

“I in­ves­ti­gated Inuit sites in Nu­navut for a num­ber of years, es­pe­cially ones re­lated to cen­tral Arc­tic bow­head whalers dat­ing to be­tween about AD 1200 and 1500, and in 2002 was hired at Me­mo­rial (Univer­sity) and de­cided to shift my fo­cus to north­ern Labrador, where I’ve been work­ing ever since,” he said.

And he loves it.

“North­ern Labrador is ex­tremely beau­ti­ful, and the record of past Inuit set­tle­ment there rel­a­tively un­der­stud­ied, so it is re­ward­ing to do this kind of re­search,” he said. “I love Inuit cul­ture and his­tory, and the north­ern land­scape and its wildlife are spec­tac­u­lar.”

Whit­bridge hopes through his re­search to raise aware­ness and in­spire.

“I hope this work brings at­ten­tion and in­ter­est to Nu­natsi­avut his­tory, and in­spires young peo­ple to pur­sue stud­ies and ca­reers in ar­chae­ol­ogy or other fields that bring them into the coun­try.”

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