Episode available within Canada only.

This is the story of the incredible journey of eight Inuit who came from Labrador in 1880 to Europe lured by promises of adventures and wealth, only to realize they had been trapped in a world that time has today forgotten; the world of human zoos. Thirty-five thousand indigenous people from around the world were recruited for these zoos.

SCENE FROM THE FILM: Abraham and his family helped build the first exhibit in Hamburg, Germany

In this world, men, women and children were exhibited like animals. An era of scientific racism was ushered in.  And if not for one small diary found after being lost for over one hundred years, written by a man named Abraham, their tragic story would have been forgotten forever.

Listen to an interview on CBC's The Current with author France Rivet.

CBC Newfoundland and Labrador: Documentary looks at Inuit family put in human zoo.

But 130 years later, author France Rivet and Inuit Elder Johannes Lampe, will uncover the mystery of their disappearance as they discover the remains of five members of the group in Paris. They will follow Abraham’s voyage through Germany and France. In Berlin, they'll visit the zoos where our Inuit were displayed,  in Paris they'll  stroll along the museum galleries where the skeletons of five of the Inuit were put on display until the 1930’s, then, down to the vault where they will see firsthand, the remains that have laid silent for the last 130 years. 

In  2013, Canada and France signed an agreement to repatriate the human remains of Inuit back to Canada. A final chapter of Abraham’s diary is about to be written. Abraham will return to his homeland Labrador.

Credits (Click to expand)

director
Guilhem Rondot

scriptwriter
Roch Brunette

script editor
Liam O’Rinn

script consultant
France Rivet

researchers
France Rivet
Roch Brunette

producer
Roch Brunette

narrator
David Suzuki

extra voices
René Gely
Mike Giunta

special contribution
Johannes Lampe
France Rivet

cast
Abraham   Charles Keelan
Nuggasak   Kristen Kownak
Paingu   Julie Ivalu
Rudolf Virchow  Gilles Provost
Sara    Mya Arngnanaaq-Boyer
Tigianniak   Michael Singoorie
Tobias   Archibald Kadloo
Ulrike   Annie Ningeok
Photographer  Louis-Philippe Pariseau
camera
Pierre-Frédéric Chénier

sound
Marcel Lalonde
Jean-Yves Münch

production managers
Roch Brunette
Caroline Morneau

editor
Stéphane Dussault

graphics
Dimitri Gagnon-Morris
Carlos Lopez-Hevia

colorist
Julian Scalzo

production assistants
Pierre-Luc Dumont
Geneviève Guilmette
Francis Leduc
Carlos Lopez-Hevia

electrician
Frank Harris

assistant electrician
Ivan Cooke

set designer
Colleen Williamson

make-up
Annie Lefebvre

assistant make-up
Samantha Caldwell

post-audio
Charles Fairfield

music
APM Music
Twin Flames for ‘Isuma’ (ode to Abraham)

bookkeeping
Claude Hallé

legal services
Me Marie-Josée Harel

stockfootage courtesy of
France Rivet/Horizons Polaires
Gaumont Pathé Archives
National Film Board of Canada
Parks Canada
Garry Smyth

Still images courtesy of
Anne Kirsti Jacobsen
Archives de l'Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris
Archives de la préfecture de la Seine
Archives de la ville de Krefeld
Archives municipales de Neuilly-sur-Seine
Bibliothèque centrale du MNHN @ RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource
Groupe de recherche ACHAC
Hans Rollman
Hessian Departmental Archives
J.M Jacobsen/Nederlands Fotomuseum
JSTOR
Horizons Polaires
Kenn Harper
L’Illustration
Museum für Voelkerkunde Hamburg
Tierpark Hagenbeck Archives
Unitätsarchiv Herrnhut
Wikicommons

we graciously acknowledge the participation of
Johannes Lampe
Rita Andersen
Nicolas Bancel
Anja Battlefeld
Pascal Blanchard
Gilles Boëtsch
Alain Froment
Klaus Gille
Dr. Carl-Claus Hagenbeck
Gérard Levy
Dave Lough
Hartmut Lutz
Philippe Mennecier
France Rivet
Hans Rollman
Hilke Thode-Arora
Monika Zessnik

special thanks to
Air Labrador
Berlin Zoo
Deuxièmement Location
Elders’ Committee, Nain
Espace Costume
Ethnological Museum of Berlin
Museum of Ethnology Hamburg
Hagenbeck Zoo
Jardin d’Acclimatation
Library and Archives Canada
Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle
Musée des moulages de l’Hôpital Saint-Louis
Musée du Quai Branly
Nain Brass Band
Nunatsiavut Gouvernment
…and all the students who contributed to the translation of Abraham’s diary, Greifswald University

 

for the CBC

director of production
Alexandra Lane

director of finance
Julie Lawlor

executive in charge of production
Sue Dando

executive director
documentary programming
Mark Starowicz

executive director
unscripted content
Jennifer Dettman

The Nature of Things with David Suzuki
produced by

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
cbc.ca/natureofthings
 

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