Mammals of Ungava and Labrador (Hardcover)

The 1882-1884 Fieldnotes of Lucien M. Turner together with Inuit and Innu Knowledge

By Scott A. Heyes (Editor), Kristofer M. Helgen (Editor)

Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 9781935623212, 436pp.

Publication Date: January 28, 2014

List Price: 49.95*
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In 1882 the Smithsonian Institution Arctic scientist, Lucien McShan Turner, traveled to the Ungava District that encompasses Northern Quebec and Labrador. There he spent 20 months as part of a mission to record meteorological data for an International Polar Year research program. While stationed at the Hudson's Bay Company Trading Post of Fort Chimo in Ungava Bay, now the Inuit community of Kuujjuaq, he soon tired of his primary task and expanded his duties to a study of the natural history and ethnography of the Aboriginal peoples of the region.

His ethnography of the Inuit and Innu people was published in 1894, but his substantial writings on natural history never made it to print. Presented here for the first time is the natural history material that Lucien M. Turner wrote on mammals of the Ungava and Labrador regions. His writings provide a glimpse of the habits and types of mammals that roamed Ungava 125 years ago in what was an unknown frontier to non-Inuit and non-Innu people.

About the Author

Scott A. Heyes is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Canberra, Australia, and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution's Arctic Studies Center in the Department of Anthropology.

Kristofer M. Helgen is a Research Zoologist at the Smithsonian Institution and Curator-in-Charge of the Division of Mammals at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Lucien M. Turner (1848-1909) contributed significantly to the collections of the Smithsonian Institution; he was the author of Contributions to the Natural History of Alaska (1868).

Praise For Mammals of Ungava and Labrador: The 1882-1884 Fieldnotes of Lucien M. Turner together with Inuit and Innu Knowledge

Honorary Mention, 2016 William Mills Prize for Non-Fiction Polar Books


Currently, the northern latitudes encompassing Arctic and subarctic lands are the most rapidly changing environments in the world, and an understanding of the natural history and sociocultural heritage of the region may have profound implications for economic development and environmental conservation, with impacts on indigenous populations and local biodiversity. This compendium is a comprehensive account of the behavioral ecology of the land and sea mammals of Ungava and Labrador in northeastern Canada, combining the detailed observations of Arctic scientist Turner from the late 1800s with narratives on the subsistence and cultural usage of species by the Inuit and Innu.  Traditional knowledge remains valuable today for adaptation and resilience in the face of increasing environmental  challenges, as well as for preserving a rich cultural and linguistic heritage.  Alongside natural history accounts of species are fables, legends, and creation stories about land and sea mammals, woven seamlessly with superb pictures and illustrations.  Part field guide and part collected stories of Inuit and Innu traditional knowledge, this historical perspective also includes modem-day perspectives and interpretations stressing the relationship between humans and their environment.  A rich resource for a broad audience including non-Arctic natural and social scientists.  Summing Up: Highly recommended.  All academic, professional, and general libraries. -- R. A. Delgado Jr., American Association for the Advancement of Science