"When the Caribou Failed": Ilia Tolstoy in the Barren Lands, 1928-1929.

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  • Author(s): MacDonald, Graham A.
  • Source:
    Manitoba History. Spring/Summer2003, Issue 45, p2. 10p. 5 Black and White Photographs, 3 Maps.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      This article focuses on the Canadian landscape. Until World War II it remained largely unexplored to all except those born to the land: the Chipewyan and the so-called "Caribou Eskimos." There are but few accounts of this border territory in the early centuries of European contact. Thierry Mallet's 1930 memoir contains a chapter "When the Caribou Failed." Mallet was not the first to have noticed the periodic failures of the caribou to arrive. The consequences of such a failure of the caribou to appear in this area were later made famous by Farley Mowat with the publication of 'People of the Deer' in 1952. At about the same time that Mallet was preparing his memoir, an expatriate Russian from the United States, Ilia Tolstoy, was making his way north by rail to the Pas, destined for the barren lands of Keewatin. A grandson of the great novelist, Leo Tolstoy, Ilia Tolstoy, in connection with Burden's production of the film 'The Silent Enemy,' undertook a venture into the Canadian barren lands of Keewatin in search of the caribou. INSET: Ilia Andreevich Tolstoy (1903-1970).