Page:Eskimo Life.djvu/30

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

ments of the Eskimos were further north on the coast, above the 68th degree of north latitude, where seals and whales abound, and where they would first arrive on their course from the northward[1] (see p. 13). From these permanent settlements they probably, in Eskimo fashion, made frequent excursions of more or less duration to the more southerly part of the west coast, and there left behind them the traces which were first found. When the Norwegian settlers began to range northwards they at last came in contact with the Eskimos. Professor G. Storm[2] is of opinion that this must first have happened in the twelfth century.[3] We read in the 'Historia Norvegiæ' that the hunters in the unsettled districts of north Greenland came upon an undersized people whom they called 'Skrellings,' and who used stone knives and arrow-points of whalebone. As their more northern settlements became over-populated, the Eskimos no doubt began to migrate southwards in earnest; and as the Norwegians often dealt hardly with them when they

  1. North of the 68th degree they could kill seals and whales in plenty from the ice all the winter through; and this is a method of hunting which they must have learnt further north, where it would be the most important of all for them.
  2. Gustav Storm: Studies on the Vineland Voyages, Extracts from Mémoires de la Société Royale des Antiquaires du Nord, 1888, p. 53.
  3. The Eskimos themselves have several legends as to their encounters with the old Norsemen. See Rink: Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo, pp. 308-321.