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Lapland - Expo Paris 1889

Lapland at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1889

The Eskimos are probably, like the Redskins, an American race.

They now inhabit the extreme north of America, from the southern coast of Labrador to the mouth of the Fraser River, Greenland and the polar archipelagos. As an industry, they are still in the stone age and have no weapons or metal tools. They live by fishing, especially seals. In regions where fuel is very scarce, they fight the cold mainly by their way of life and food. They activate the combustion of blood by drinking fish oil and the still warm blood of the seal.

In summer, the Eskimos live in easily transportable skin tents, as they are nomads. In winter they build either snow huts or (and this is the most common case) huts which have the appearance of a mound with cut sides and are made of clods of earth and stones; the flat roof is supported by whale bones or beams. The hut is entered through a low doorway into a very narrow concave corridor. At the end of this corridor is a single room, with a sort of cot around it, lit by a rudimentary seal-oil night-light, ventilated by a hole in the upper part. Sometimes, the Eskimos pierce two openings in the partition wall with a bladder made from the seal's intestine as a window. The most nauseating smell exhaled from these hovels, whose floor is covered with a foul mixture of curdled blood, corrupted debris and shreds of rotten fish.

© L'Exposition de Paris - 1889