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Bell from Erebus unveiled in Ottawa
Aglukkag proud of role played by Inuit

Michele LeTourneau
Northern News Services
Published Monday, November 10, 2014

Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, the minister responsible for Parks Canada, last week unveiled the bell from the Sir John Franklin flagship HMS Erebus which was recently discovered in Canadian Arctic waters in Nunavut.

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The detached ship's bell of HMS Erebus was unveiled in Ottawa Nov. 6. The broad arrow, the British government property mark, is embossed on the bell along with the date of service, 1845. - photo courtesy of CNW/Parks Canada

According to naval traditions, a ship's bell is a symbolic embodiment of the ship itself.

"Last September, after more than 160 years of searching to understand the fate of English explorer Sir John Franklin's Arctic voyage, one of the world's greatest archeological mysteries was solved by discovering the HMS Erebus," said Aglukkaq in Ottawa Nov. 6.

Aglukkaq noted that she is proud of the role played by Inuit and Inuit traditional knowledge, notably involving Louie Kamookak of Gjoa Haven.

"Let's be clear, this significant chapter in Canadian history stands as a symbol of Arctic sovereignty, great exploration, Canadian resolve and human spirit," she said.

"The expedition serves as a founding block of Canada's sovereignty in the Arctic."

The discovery of the bell was made on the first of seven dives over two days.

The bell is being stored in an environmentally controlled and physically secure location at the Parks Canada archaeological conservation laboratory in Ottawa, and is immersed in a bath of distilled water. The chemistry of the water is monitored daily to detect any changes in the condition of the artifact.

It will undergo a lengthy conservation treatment, perhaps taking 18 months or longer.

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