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Copland, A. Dudley.

Introduction by William. E. Taylor Jr., Winnipeg, Watson & Dwyer Publishing, 1985. 244pp, cloth, $24.95, ISBN 0-920486-12-6.

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Robert Wieler

Volume 15 Number 4
1987 July

Copalook, or Big Copland, was the name given to Hudson's Bay Company employee, Dudley Copland, by the Inuit of Southampton Island in the Canadian Arctic. Copland's book is an interesting and informative account of his sixteen years of service at various HBC outposts in the Arctic. At the age of twenty-one, Dudley Copland sailed from Scotland under a five-year contract to the HBC to begin his career as a fur trader, explorer, and writer. In 1940 he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and was assigned to establishing radio units and posts on the Labrador coast. Following World War II he served as arctic advisor to the Armed Forces.

Copland's book is a very readable, personable record of his experiences in the Arctic and his encounters with various Inuit groups, many of whom had few encounters with fur traders. Copland vividly describes the operation and policies of the Hudson's Bay Company in its dealings with the native fur suppliers. He lauds the company for delegating responsibility right down the line, and for standing behind the decisions made by the staff at the outposts.

The author's anecdotes about his encounters with the Inuit are revealing, frequently poignant, and amusing. Copland uses the colourful names of the individuals he met and worked with in the North, and writes many individual portraits about these unique people. His book provides many insights into the lifestyle, customs, and contributions of the Inuit.

Copalook is a useful resource book for students and teachers for courses in Canadian studies, history, and geography.

Robert Wieler, Glenlawn C.L., Winnipeg, Man.
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