Dawn in Arctic Alaska
In 1913 a young ethnologist from New Zealand boarded a ship for the Arctic, beginning a personal journey that was to make Diamond Jenness one of the twentieth century's foremost authorities on Alaskan Eskimos. Jenness had been asked to join the Stefansson expedition, and his official duties were to collect ethnographic details on the Eskimos—their culture, technology, religion, and social organization. His account of the expedition was published as People of the Twilight in 1928, but Jenness also kept a diary of his three years among the Eskimos. He was eventually persuaded to publish it as Dawn in Arctic Alaska.
Predating the genre of personal ethnographies that has become so popular and important today, Jenness's tales blend his keen observations of the Arctic and its people with his own reflections and sensory experiences. He expresses great adimiration for the customs and character of the Eskimos and great regret and disappointment over the destruction of their lifeway through contact with white men.