Reverse Colonialism – How the Inuit Conquered the Vikings | Canadian Geographic] Adam Shoalts March 8, 2011
An interesting chapter in North American history is the history of Europeans settling in Canada over a thousand years ago. This is the history of Greenland’s Norse (Vikings) and the Thule people (Inuit).
North American history is a history of successive immigration, the Clovis people, the Asians, the Polynesians. From these groups evolved the “native” tribes of North and South America and the Caribbean.
Different groups have always vied for dominance, centuries ago a recent group of immigrants, the Inuit displaced the Europeans who had been in place for centuries. The Inuit pushed the native Dorset and the European vikings out of north America 500 years before Columbus.
Greenland is part of North America. It is connected to Canada by a underwater ridge less than 180 meters deep, and at its nearest point, is only 26 kilometers from Ellesmere Island.
In 982 AD Vikings arrived in southern Greenland from nearby Iceland. They found a land uninhabited and established several settlements. From there they expanded their range south to what is Newfoundland today. Over the next few centuries the Viking settlements flourished and Greenland became medieval Europe’s “farthest frontier.”
Though the first Vikings to arrive in Greenland followed traditional pagan beliefs, Christianity arrived there shortly after and churches and even a cathedral were built on the island.
The Catholic Church appointed a bishop for Greenland and as the Vikings gave up their old ways, they also lost much of their fierce reputation as warriors and raiders. Archaeologists estimate that at their height, the Norse numbered up to 5,000, perhaps even 6,000 in Greenland. (A very large amount given how small the world’s population was in the Middle Ages.) The Vikings ventured up the St Lawrence and traded with natives and establishing a settlement at L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland.
And they also traveled hundreds of kilometers north of their own settlements in Greenland to summer hunting grounds, where they killed polar bears, narwhals, and seals, trading the pelts and ivory with Europe. But a happy end for the Greenland natives wasn’t meant to be.
In distant Alaska, a new culture was migrating — the Thule (ancestors of today’s Inuit). The Thule, originally from Siberia, were gradually expanding across the Arctic, killing the aboriginal Dorset people as they traveled.
By roughly 1200 AD, the Dorset had been killed off in warfare with the Thule. The Dorset were a peaceful people without defensive weapons and were unable to survive the hardship of Inuit raids. The Inuit oral traditions tell of how the Dorset were a gentle people without bows and arrows, and thus easy to kill and drive away.
The Thule (Modern Inuit) continued their expansion across the Canadian Arctic and sometime around 1300 AD, spread into northern Greenland. This was three centuries after the Vikings had settled there. At the same time the Portuguese were exploring africa and Asia
The Thule moved south along the coast, eventually coming into contact with the Norse settlements. The surviving written records from the Norse tell of attacks by the invaders. The sources document describe the Thule newcomers genocidal massacre of whole Norse settlements.
Faced with hostile invaders the Norse society in Greenland collapsed. By sometime in the 15th century, Greenland’s Norse seem to have disappeared entirely, their territory eventually overrun and colonized by the Inuit,
By the late 17th century the Inuit had progressed to Labrador. Considering thier recent history in Canada it asks the question how are they, like the Metis more or less Aborigioinal than the Norse who were here a thousand years before them. This story should not be forgotten by the modern world.
This article was removed from the Canadian Geographic after the appointment of Governor General Mary Simon (An Inuit) was appointed a patron of the Canadian Geographical Society. As Chief Perry Bellegarde said. “Reconciliation can mean transforming longstanding institutions in Canada. That means having First Nations, Inuit and Metis people in leadership roles where we can engage Canadians in our traditional worldviews. Her Excellency brings such knowledge of lands and the Inuit language, which the Royal Canadian Geographical Society welcomes wholeheartedly.”
Or translated into Non Orwellian double talk “Reconciliation means controlling and transforming longstanding unbiased institutions in Canada. That means having First Nations, Inuit and Metis people in leadership roles where we can reshape history to ignore the fact we were without the wheel, writing or science. We will engage Canadians into our traditional worldviews which are to the advantage of the trans nation corporations that sow discord everywhere they go. Her Excellency is a perfect Trojan horse who can shape the narrative to be anti European, anti enlightenment, anti science and expose native peoples to further exploitation at the hands of the ruling class under the guise of independence. She is a poster child of tokenism and a useful tool of the corporate kleptocracy. The Royal Canadian Geographical Society welcomes her and the corporatism agenda she represents wholeheartedly.”
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