Voice of the Natives
... Hans has travelled thousands of miles in all parts of the north, sometimes by land and sometimes
by air, but always with the thrill and enthusiasm of an explorer who is making new discoveries. It is
especially the people of the north that draw him back year after year, sometimes for months.
The Voice of the Natives is a partial record of those trips, pictorially and textually. With cameras
always at his side or slung over his shoulder, Hans can be counted on for breath-taking photos of the
people and the land. Half of this book comprises a photographic interpretation of those trips. The
other half contains visceral accounts of his travels as well as poignant essays and contributions he
solicited from Inuit and northern authors whose own sensibility and first hand experience helped to show him the way and further shape his understanding.
In addition, The Voice of the Natives includes a "photographic essay" made up of archival black and white
photographs from various public collections. The purpose of including these photos is to offer a
counterpoint for readers--to balance the two very different worlds occupied by the people. To some readers
the decision to place the archival photographs in an apparently random fashion throughout the text portions
of the book may seem quixotic. Although the photos neither illustrate nor explain the texts--they have no
immediate or direct inter-connection--they do provide a visual narrative that permits one to drop back in
time while reading about present circumstances and events.
The effect of this juxtaposition is to make us more conscious of life before the Qallunaat came and perhaps,
through a kind of role reversal, to evaluate our own "complicity" in the inevitable consequences.
Furthermore, to accentuate the contemporary nature of the black and white photos as well as the method in
which they were catalogued and described by their collectors, we have elected to retain the captions printed
on the labels attached to the back of the photos. In this way, we can appreciate how the "voices" of the
north were heard by these early chroniclers.
The Voice of the Natives is therefore a challenge on many levels. It is a book that bridges many centuries
of promise: it enlightens and instructs as well as fascinates and enthralls....
Thanks ... to Hans Blohm for conceiving such a wonderful project; and to the authors whose essays and writing
convey a natural but necessary insight.