The U.K. government has announced it will gift two recently-found wrecks from the historic Franklin expedition to Canada, while holding back a small sample of artifacts for its own museums.
It was in 1845 that Rear-Admiral Sir John Franklin set sail from England to try to chart the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic with two ships, the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror. While trying to navigate from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, the ships became stuck in ice off King William Island.
Wrecks found with Indigenous know-how, technology
The crews decided to abandon the ships and try to trek overland to the south. No one survived. Many attempts were made to find the wrecks of the two ships but it took Indigenous know-how and improved technology to finally find them in 2014 and 2016.
The transfer of ownership is expected in the coming weeks.
It will not be all smooth sailing though. CBC reports that the Inuit have asked the Canadian government to recognize their ownership rights over the wrecks under a 1993 land-claims agreement that gives these Indigenous people joint ownership with Canada of any archaeological finds.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Canadian government invests over $35M to preserve Indigenous languages in the North, Radio Canada International
Finland: Finland looks to put education, environment at top of Arctic agenda, Yle News
Norway: PHOTO REPORT: Tundra children return from school, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Activists say use of Finnish in Sweden is being restricted, Yle News
Russia: Population growth in military towns of Kola Peninsula, Russia, The Independent Barents Observer
United States: New book tells untold story of black soldiers who built the Alaska Highway, Alaska Public Media