Apostle to the Inuit: The Journals and Ethnographic Notes of Edmund James Peck - The Baffin Years, 1894-1905

Apostle to the Inuit: The Journals and Ethnographic Notes of Edmund James Peck - The Baffin Years, 1894-1905

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Frederic Laugrand, Jarich Oosten, Francois Trudel
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2005
World Rights
420 Pages
ISBN 9780802090423
Published Nov 2006
Online discount: 25%
 $95.00    $71.25

Apostle to the Inuit presents the journals and ethnographical notes of Reverend Edmund James Peck, an Anglican missionary who opened the first mission among the Inuit of Baffin Island in 1894. He stayed until 1905, and by that time, had firmly established Christianity in the North. He became known to the Inuit as 'Uqammaq,' the one who talks well. His colleagues knew him as 'Apostle among the Eskimo.'

Peck's diaries of the period focus on his missionary work and the adoption of Christianity by the Inuit and provide an impressive account of the daily life and work of the early missionaries in Baffin Island. His ethnographic data was collected at the request of famed anthropologist Franz Boas in 1897. Peck conducted extensive research on Inuit oral traditions and presents several detailed verbatim accounts of shamanic traditions and practises. This work continues to be of great value for a better understanding of Inuit culture and history but was never before published.

Apostle to the Inuit demonstrates how a Christian missionary who was bitterly opposed to shamanism, became a devoted researcher of this complex tradition. Editors Frédéric Laugrand, Jarich Oosten, and François Trudel highlight the relationships between Europeans and Inuit and discuss central issues facing native peoples and missionaries in the North. They also present a selection of fascinating drawings made by Inuit at the request of Peck, which illustrate Inuit life on Baffin Island at the turn of the twentieth century. The book offers important new data on the history of the missions among the Inuit as well as on the history of Inuit religion and the anthropological study of Inuit oral traditions.

Frédéric Laugrand is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at Université Laval.

Jarich Oosten is a professor in the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Universiteit Leiden.

François Trudel is a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Université Laval.



Map – Cumberland Sound

  1. The Founding of an Anglican Mission on Baffin Island, 1894–1905


  1. Eleven Years among the Inuit of Cumberland Sound, 1894–1905
  2. Journal, 1894–1895
  3. Journal, 1895–1896
  4. Journal, 1897–1898
  5. Letter, 1899
  6. Journal, 1900–1901
  7. Journal, 1902
  8. Journal, 1903–1904
  9. Journal, 1904–1905


  1. The Ethnography of Peck
  2. The Eskimos, Their Beliefs, Characteristics, and Needs
  3. Describing ‘Heathen Customs’
  4. Eve Nooeyout
  5. Oosotapik
  6. Qoojessie
  7. The Tuurngait
  8. List of Spirits by the Missionary E.J. Peck



Index of Names

Apostle to the Inuit is an important work that makes a major contribution to arctic history, the history of religions and missions in Canada, and to anthropological understandings of shamanism.’

Christopher G. Trott, Department of Native Studies, University of Manitoba