The Voyages of the RCMP Schooner “St. Roch”

Operational Histories, No. 7

“The Adventurous Voyage” tells the story of the RCMP schooner’s famous transits through the Northwest Passages during the Second World War. This volume reproduces three important documents offering diverse perspectives on the wartime voyages. Skipper Henry Asbjørn Larsen Larsen’s official report provides a succinct overview of the routes taken by the ship as well as valuable descriptions of the experiences of the crews, their activities while over-wintering in the Arctic, and relationships with Inuit. Geographer J. Lewis Robinson of the Bureau of Northwest Territories and Yukon Affairs situates the ship’s “conquest of the Northwest Passage” in the history of exploration of the fabled waterway. Finally, Joe Panipakuttuk recounts his story as an Inuk who embarked on St. Roch with his family at Pond Inlet for its 1944 voyage to Herschel Island and returned to his community by schooner and sled over the next two years. An introduction, written by two of Canada’s leading historians of the Arctic, situates these narratives in historical context.

Edited and Introduced by P. Whitney Lackenbauer and Shelagh Grant.

WHITNEY LACKENBAUER, Ph.D., is Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in the Study of the Canadian North and professor in the School for the Study of Canada at Trent University, and the Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (1CRPG) based in Yellowknife. Whitney is an adjunct professor at the Center for Arctic Security and Resilience at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Mulroney Institute for Governance at St. Francis Xavier University. Previously, he has been Killam Visiting Scholar at the University of Calgary, Distinguished Visiting Professor at Canadian Forces College, and a Fulbright Scholar at Johns Hopkins University. He has (co-)written or (co-)edited more than fifty books and more than one hundred academic articles and book chapters. His recent books include The Joint Arctic Weather Stations: Science and Sovereignty in the High Arctic, 1946-1972 (2022); A History of the Canadian Rangers of Quebec: 2nd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (2022); The Canadian Armed Forces’ Eyes, Ears, and Voice in Remote Regions: Selected Writings on the Canadian Rangers (2022); Lines in the Snow: Thoughts on the Past and Future of Northern Canadian Policy Issues (2021); On Thin Ice? Perspectives on Arctic Security (2021); Breaking Through: Understanding Sovereignty and Security in the Circumpolar Arctic (2021); and China’s Arctic Engagement: Following the Polar Silk Road to Greenland and Russia (2021). He is married with three children.

SHELAGH GRANT taught history and Canadian Studies at Trent University for seventeen years. After undergraduate studies in nursing science at the University of Western Ontario and time out to raise a young family, she returned to university earning a Hons. BA in History and Canadian Studies in 1981 and an M.A. in History in 1983. With further archival research in London and Washington, she expanded her master’s thesis into her first book, Sovereignty or Security? Government Policy in the Canadian North, 1939-1950 (UBC Press 1988). Her second book, the award-winning Arctic Justice: On Trial for Murder — Pond Inlet, 1923 (MQUP 2002), required yearly trips to Baffin Island for oral history interviews and follow-up discussions. Later she returned to Pond Inlet to supervise an Inuktitut translation of her manuscript on the history of Mittimatalik, published in 2008 by the Nunavut Department of Education for use in schools and elders centres. She compiled thirty years of research on Arctic sovereignty into Polar Imperative: A History of Arctic Sovereignty in North America (Douglas & McIntyre, 2010). Shelagh was the first historian and first woman to receive the Northern Science Award (1996) and was active on various Inuit policy advisory committees, editorial boards and northern scholarship committees. In November 2011, she was made a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in June 2012 and the Governor General’s Polar Medal in July 2015, and granted an honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt) from Trent University in June 2014. Long time partner of Jon K. Grant, they have three children and six grandchildren.

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