Page 359. " the ancient Greenlandic realm of the dead "

Survival in the Arctic is so harsh and difficult that people have traditionally lived in a constant state of fear and uncertainty: there has never been the need for them to imagine any kind of punishment after death. Therefore the concept of hell does not exist in Inuit mythology.

Angiut, a helping spirit from Inuit myths
Public DomainAngiut, a helping spirit from Inuit myths - Credit: Knud Rasmussen
The afterlife is represented by spirits, including those of animals, accompanying living people in their daily life.

The concept of a reward and a punishment after death has come to Eskimo peoples along with Christianity, which is now the main religion in the Polar region.


Page 365. " during the second International Polar Year "

International Polar Year is a scientific programme focused on issues pertaining to the Arctic and the Antarctic. The word "Year" is actually quite misleading, as it is neither a regular nor an isolated event: since the first International Polar Year in 1882-83, there have been three subsequent programmes, in 1932-33 (as mentioned in the book), 1957-58 and 2007-08. Each programme included numerous research projects, seminars, conferences and trips related to particular fields of interest within  the Polar world.