The Franklin Expedition to find the Northwest passage occupies a big space in the history of exploration in general and Canadian History in particular. Archaeology buff were thrilled last year with the discovery of the wreck of one of Franklin’s ships, The Erebus in the Victoria Straight.
The find was not without controversy, given the support thrown behind it by the normally an notoriously anti-science government in power in Ottawa. But it was an amazing achievement, made possible by the scientific community finally giving due weight to the Inuk oral historical record of the event, and in particular the work of Louie Kamookak.
I was honoured to be invited to play two songs at the reception to celebrate the expedition and the awarding of the newly minted Erebus medal. I was there at the invitation of John Geiger, CEO of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. (Geiger and Owen Beattie’s book, Frozen in Time had a huge influence on me.)
The attendees included hundred of fellow of the Royal Society, the commanders of the Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy, The Prime Minister and Louie Kamookak amongst others.
It was one of the most moving experiences of my life.
Just at the beginning of the first, you hear a bell. That’s the ship’s bell from HMS Erebus.
Just at the beginning of the first song, you hear a bell. That’s the ship’s bell from HMS Erebus.