"The Esquimaux have no books, no schools, no churches, but in their way they are as highly educated as we are", declared Captain Donald B. MacMillan last night during the course of a speech in the Union on his recent trip to northern-most Greenland.
After a short preliminary talk Captain MacMillan showed 8,000 feet of moving picture film accompanied by a running series of comments. The speaker expanded on the Polar Esquimaux who live only 13 degrees from the North Pole.
"They are," he said, "the most northern people in the world, yet they are just as keen as we are. They live, not in snow huts according to popular conception, but underground in rock houses."
Captain MacMillan early in the spring of 1924 made a long trip over the snow and icefields southward from the spot where his ship was frozen in, to the first Esquimaux village, the settlement of humans which is the nearest in the world to the North Pole. There he found the children coasting down the hills, exactly, he said, like children elsewhere. The Esquimaux were very clever with their hands, and also with their feet. In illustration of this fact the speaker showed pictures of Esquimaux ladies holding their sewing in their toes. These Polar inhabitants had last been visited by Captain MacMillan in 1917, and when he arrived last year they told him that they had been waiting for his return since then.
Captain MacMillan had several experiences with animals during his trip. He said, "Once I caught a baby Polar Bear and broke him to harness, I used to drive around, but we didn't go where I wanted to go--we went where he wanted to go."
Later in the year the explorer went on a long trip in search of the famous, musk ox which inhabit the Polar region and feed on the frozen vegetation which grows in the bare spots of this country. He showed the first moving pictures ever taken of these rare animals, encircled by the Captain's Esquimaux dogs which played hide and seek with them, some times however getting caught on the horns. "I've always wanted to ride a musk-ox," said the speaker, "and I found out what it would be like last spring. We caught a young one and tied a rope around his neck. He thought a wolf was on his back and bucked like a bronco, including falling on his back. I'd like to see a cowboy on a full grown musk-ox!"
On his trip north Captain MacMillan took with him a tablet given by the National Geographic Society to commemorate the death of several scientists far north in Greenland on Cape Sabine in 1887. This he left, with instructions to the Esquimaux never to touch it.
During the winter of 1924 the explorer's ship was icebound and covered with snow. The party built three snow-houses on top of the ship and to these Esquimaux visited all during the winter to see the white man's moving picture, to hear the white man's radio and victrola, and to eat the white man's food.