July 21, 2007

Coin commemorates Inuit kidnapping

Coin evokes grim past for Inuit, leader says

Mint's $20 offering ignores darker side of Frobisher expeditionThere's two sides to every coin, and that certainly seems to be the case with the new $20 coin released by the Royal Canadian Mint.

Struck to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the International Polar Year, the silver coin depicts, among other things, the 16th century Arctic explorer Martin Frobisher and an Inuit kayaker.

The problem, says Canada's main Inuit organization, is that it's eerily reminiscent of the kidnapping of an Inuit kayaker by that explorer.
What this refers to:In 1576, Frobisher travelled to the Arctic to find the elusive Northwest Passage. While sailing near Baffin Island, the British explorer and his men captured an Inuit man-–kayak and all-–for display in England. The captive died from disease-–likely the flu–-shortly after arriving in Europe. Frobisher returned a year later and captured three more Inuit, who also died from disease.

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