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…