Abraham Ulrikib's Caribou Pelt
Abraham Ulrikib's Caribou Pelt.jpg


The Abraham Family


Caribou Pelt


Immobilization upon contact





Collected by

Warehouse 12


Trap Aisle





Date of Collection

2 February 1913



Abraham Ulrikab (1845 - 1881) was a 19th century Inuk from Hebron, Labrador, known for being one of eight Inuit individuals brought to Germany in an ill-fated human zoo exhibit in 1880. It is likely that this story would have gone unknown if not for Abraham, who kept a diary of his experiences throughout.

Human zoos, as ethnological shows are also referred, were common during this time period, and commodified so-called "primitive," non-Western cultures to Western audiences. Ostensibly a learning experience, they were largely spectacle and reinforced a colonialist worldview to the public.

Abraham and his family were suffering from poverty when they were approached by Johan Adrian Jacobsen, who was looking to recruit Inuk for one such show. Though the Moravian missionaries in Hebron wouldn't allow Jacobsen to hire their baptized Inuit population for display, Abraham was hired as an interpreter and convinced both his own family and one from from a nearby Inuit settlement to join Jacobsen.

The voyage was rough, and arriving in Europe was not much better. The crowds and noise that came with being on display wore on all of the Inuit, and they were physically suffering as well. Jacobsen had failed to immunize any of the Inuit against smallpox, which claimed the lives of all eight of them between December and January.


Carried as part of their travelling exhibit, this caribou pelt was infused with Abraham and his family's despair over being away from their home and on display. Now the pelt ensnares anyone who touches it, making it impossible for them to move away.

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