Travelling on skis and snowshoes, the Arctic Return team will pay tribute to and honour one of the greatest Arctic explorers. John Rae’s success was due in great part to his willingness to learn from the indigenous people of the region. He traveled with patience, humility, respect and honesty. The Arctic Return team will follow that example. The expedition will bear witness to a land, a people and a history. At the same time, recognizing the importance of learning from Indigenous people not just in the north but south, east, and west.
The four person Arctic Return team will be self sufficient, travelling at what can be the coldest time of year. The expedition is expected to take around thirty-five days.
The 2019 expedition is driven also by a concern for John Rae’s birthplace and boyhood home, the Hall of Clestrain. Built in Orphir near Stromness, Orkney, in 1769, it is in urgent need of repair and restoration. The expedition enthusiastically supports the John Rae Society in its determination to renovate the Hall and transform it into a world-class interpretive centre. That centre will not only honour Rae and his accomplishments, but celebrate Arctic exploration and the importance of Indigenous knowledge in that endeavour.
The Arctic Return is more than just an expedition, it’s a teaching tool for educators, an inspiring visual book by a revered author, a broadcast documentary by an award winning filmmaker, and a fundraising and awareness campaign for the Hall of Clestrain.
Visit Arctic Return online to learn more about the expedition, and support the journey.