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the strength of the mother instinct and you have the basis of Ada
Blackjack’s character.

In September, 1921, Vilhjalmur Stefansson sent an expedition
consisting of four men to occupy Wrangel Island which the British
had discovered in 1849 and had claimed again in 1914 whn the men
from the Karluk of the Stefansson Expedition of 1913-18 raised
the British flag. The last expedition was sent to make positive the
earlier claim by occupation, it being thought that the island might
fall into hands other than British or American. The Japanese
were then trying to penetrate the North and the Russian Soviet
Government was beginning to realize the value of the Island, which
lay off her northern shores. It was dawning on many men in
various countries that ultimately when trans-polar air commerce
became a fact, Wrangel might prove a valuable air base.

The expedition started from Nome in September and was in
command of a Canadian, Allan Crawford. Two of the men, Fred-
erick Maurer and Lorne Knight, had spent many years in the
Arctic. Maurer had been on the island a few years previous. The
fourth member of the party was Milton Galle, a novice but deeply
interested in the adventure of Arctic living.

At Nome Ada Blackjack was engaged as seamstress of the expe-
dition. The plan was to take an Eskimo family, the man to hunt,
his wife to help Ada with the making of fur clothes. At the last
this family failed to appear and the boat was forced to sail without

Ada was very skillful in sewing furs. In the Arctic fur clothes
are necessary to the comfort and health of an expedition. The
usual articles of dress are the Eskimo fur coat, fur trousers, and
the skin boots.

The Eskimo skin boots are made of seal with such skill that they
are waterproof. The work is done by the Eskimo women. They
sew the soles to the tops with a sinew thread so artfully that the
seam is waterproof even without being greased. The whole process
requires great skill and labor.

When Ada was asked to go with the expedition she refused at
first. She had never been so far away from her people. Her boy
was in a children’s home and she wanted to be near him. But the
money offered her seemed a large sum. She could save enough in
two years to take Bennett out of the home and have him with

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