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An Act of Kindness: PART 1.5

I’m sure you’re all wondering what’s happened to the blog, I promised a Part 2 for the story of Tullauhiu’s leg and I have yet to deliver!

Truthfully, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of research.  Although I’ve discovered some interesting tidbits, I want to wait until I’ve uncovered the full story before I present it to you here.

I had some great feedback from Part 1 of this blog post, from a variety of different sources, all of which lead me in different directions.  As someone who loves a good mystery I embraced these leads like any research detective would, and this has only led me further and further down the rabbit hole.  The further I went, the less I felt I could blog about it until I had the facts straight.

This story entwines archaeology, oral history, and the broken trails of early record-keeping.  I think it will be a fascinating tale, and I hope I will find out how we came to acquire this artefact.

In the meantime, I try to maintain my focus on what this prosthetic leg meant for Tullauhiu.  The loss of a limb would be a devastating experience, and within Inuit culture this was felt even deeper.  One of my colleagues mentioned that a person with a severed limb was no longer considered whole.  She sent me a chapter from her MA thesis which discussed this:

“A person with a severed limb or organ is considered of a lesser kind then other human beings. Only an angakkuq, a shaman, could survive a “disarticulation”.  In fact, going through such an experience was part of the shamanic rite of passage. Angakkut stood at the articulation of the terrestrial and cosmological worlds (Saladin d’Anglure 1983, 2006a; Trott 2006).” (Cloutier-Gelinas 2010:62).

Imagine then what the gift of a prosthetic leg would have meant for Tullauhiu!

After consulting with some folks, I decided that while I sort through the details of this mystery I’d leave something for Tullahuhiu to let him know I understand the importance of this artefact.  Although food was suggested, I knew our conservators would not be pleased with me if I left some jerky in the storage areas.  Instead I chose something else that could be of some use, a small iron file.

Credit: TMM

Credit: TMM


Cloutier-Gelinas, M.

2010  Through Space, Time, and Otherness: A Spatial Analysis of 15th to 20th century Labrador Inuit Settlement Patterns.  Unpublished MA thesis, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL.

Saladin d’Anglure, B.

1983 Ijiqqat: voyage au pays de l’invisible inuit. Etudes/Inuit/Studies 7(1): 67-83.

2006a Reflexions anthropologiques a propos d’un 3e sexe social chez les Inuit.  Conjonctures, 41 (42): 177-205.

Trott, C.J.
2006 “The Gender of the Bear”. Etudes/Inuit/Studies 30(1): 89-110


Dr. Amelia Fay

Curator of HBC Collection

See Full Biography

Amelia Fay joined The Manitoba Museum in September 2013. She received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Manitoba, an MA in Archaeology from Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), and recently completed her Doctoral degree from MUN. Amelia’s research has focused on Inuit-European contact along the Labrador coast, and her interests are continually expanding to explore Indigenous-European contact throughout Canada during the fur trade era.

Amelia’s job as Curator of the Hudson’s Bay Company Museum Collection involves building the collection, responding to public inquiries, preparing exhibits, and conducting her own research.  Her research interests centre on the interactions between Europeans (including HBC employees) and Indigenous peoples as they negotiated space, material culture, and their daily activities.  Amelia’s goal is to showcase this amazing collection, and highlight the important role that Indigenous people played in the establishment of the Hudson’s Bay Company.