Peter Freuchen marries Navarana

Navarana and Peter Freuchen in Thule
Navarana and Peter Freuchen in Thule (1916-1917) – Photo: Arktisk Institut

The Danish explorer and ethnologist Peter Freuchen (1886–1957) is famous for exploring the Arctic, in particular with his colleague and friend Knud Rasmussen (1879–1933). He lived many years in North-West Greenland, trading with Inuits, befriending them and adopting their way of life. In 1911 he married an Inuit girl, Navarana. Being born around 1898, she was thus aged approximately 13 at their marriage, while he was 25-year-old. Most biographies avoid mentioning this detail, referring to her as an “Inuit woman”. But in his 1935 book Arctic Adventure: My Life in the Frozen North he first mentions her as a “little girl,” and just after their marriage as “my little wife,” and in the 1961 book Peter Freuchen’s Book of the Eskimos edited by his widow Dagmar, he refers to her as a “little girl, just reaching the marriageable age,” but he also mentions that “Eskimo girls marry so very young that a girl will often continue to play with the other children right up to the time of her first pregnancy.CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Un Inuit romantique, par Peter Freuchen

Peter Freuchen and Knud Rasmussen
Peter Freuchen et Knud Rasmussen – Photo: Arktisk Institut

L’explorateur et ethnologue Peter Freuchen (1886–1957) vécut longtemps dans le Nord-Groenland, l’explora de fond en comble, commerçant avec les Inuits et se liant d’amitié avec eux. Il épousa même une fille Inuite, Navarana. Vivant dans l’environnement le plus hostile de la Terre, les Inuits avaient sur de nombreuses questions un point de vue très pragmatique. En particulier ils considéraient le mariage comme l’association économique et familiale d’un homme et d’une femme, certes basée sur des liens de solidarité, mais n’impliquant aucune fidélité amoureuse ou sexuelle ; souvent les hommes se prêtaient mutuellement leurs épouses pour des motifs purement utilitaires, et une femme pouvait considérer la prostitution avec les Européens comme une simple affaire commerciale, obtenant en cela l’approbation de son mari. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

A romantic Inuit, by Peter Freuchen

Peter Freuchen and Knud Rasmussen
Peter Freuchen and Knud Rasmussen – Photo: Arktisk Institut

The explorer and ethnologist Peter Freuchen (1886–1957) spent a large part of his life in Northern Greenland, exploring it in depth, trading with Inuits and making friends with them. He even married an Inuit girl, Navarana. Living in the most hostile environment in earth, Inuits held a very pragmatic point of view on many matters. In particular, they considered marriage as an economic and family association between a man and a woman, based on solidarity, but without any commitment to conjugal fidelity in relation to love or sex; often men lent their wives to other men, or borrowed their wives, or swapped wives with them, for purely utilitarian motives; they could also see their wives prostituting themselves to Europeans as a good business. Such exchanges were generally decided by husbands; as hunters feeding their family, they considered themselves as superior to women. Inuit men were basically macho, proud of their manly ways. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…