Close Reading of Inuit Images

Using sourcing, close reading and contextualizing to guide the research of the Inuit. Students will be able to interpret and analyze primary source photographs to form questions for research.

Lesson Objective

Identify and interpret physical and human characteristics of places and explain how those characteristics have affected people living there.



  1. Use the flipchart to accompany these procedures.
  2. After clarifying the terms, primary and secondary source, students will compare the differences using the White and de Bry images. They will practice analyzing White’s image of Secontin using the “See, think wonder format.
  3. Finally they will apply this knowledge to photographs of the Inuit. The students will recognize that photographs and engravings from the early 1900’s are the to closest primary sources available. Recording only details that are seen, not inferred is important for authenticity.
  4. Students will write an exit card to show their understanding of primary sources and sourcing.


“Indian Village of Secoton” by John White (created 1585-1586). Watercolor drawing. Licensed by the Trustees of the British Museum. ©Copyright the British Museum

“The Tovvne of Secota” by De Bry (printed 1590). Engraving based on watercolor by White. Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University.

“Esquimaux Indians of the Coast of Labrador” communicated by a Moravian missionary, drawn by Garret, engraved by Chapman, published by C. Jones, October 17, 1818. From Charles de Volpi, Newfoundland: A Pictorial Record (Sherbrooke, Quebec: Longman Canada Limited, _1972) 15.

Tlingit Indians fishing, Boca de Quadra, Alaska, August 2, 1904.

Smithsonian Institution Archives,