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Roald Amundsen's House
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The Masters of the Arctic

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The Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic

Along the coasts circumventing the Arctic Ocean, indigenous peoples have adapted to the harsh environment over thousands of years. Inuit, Yupic, Chukchi, Sámi and other peoples shared their unique knowledge, which proved crucial for the explorers of the polar regions. 

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Inuit Knowledge

During his journey through the Northwest Passage, Amundsen had a great deal of contact with the Inuits of Northern Canada. When he and his crew later conquered the South Pole, their success was due to a combination of traditional Norwegian skiing skills, the Inuit practice of using dog sleds and modern navigational technology. 

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Inuits on Expeditions

Even in the 1600s, indigenous people were assisting expeditions across the Greenland ice sheet in the Northwest Passage. Indeed, the first two men who claimed to have reached the North Pole (in 1908 and 1909) travelled with Inuits. Amundsen’s interaction with the local Inuits in the Northwest Passage provided him with the knowledge crucial for survival in polar conditions. 

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Inuit Tools and Utensils

Amundsen and his crew acquired an important collection of tools, clothing and ethnographica during the three year long expedition through the Northwest Passage. This unique collection can be viewed on the University of Oslo’s website: