Going native in the north: Reconsidering British attitudes during the Franklin search, 1848-1859
This article critically examines the assumption that the men of Sir John Franklin's last Arctic expedition died because, influenced by the characteristic British cultural prejudices of their time, they refused to employ Inuit survival skills. Since no detailed records from this expedition have ever been found, there is no direct evidence about the attitudes held or actions taken by its members. The article therefore draws on another source: the very extensive British periodical and newspaper coverage of the Franklin search. The writers who contributed to this literature knew even less than is now known about the events of the last Franklin expedition, but their speculations about the probable fate of the lost explorers reflect the beliefs about the Arctic and its people that prevailed at the time. Especially during the early 1850s, the great majority of periodical writers believed that Franklin and his men had gone native in order to survive. It is therefore evident that there was no cultural stigma attached to adopting the Inuit way of life in times of need.