Cape Krusenstern, (Nuvuk), NWT (NU)

Profile of an Inuit Trading Site 1935 -1947

68 degrees, 23' N 113 degrees 55' W




Agnes Semmler


Mrs. Agnes Semmler – North’s ‘Woman of the Century’ (Kenora Daily Miner and News, Friday, Oct 20, 1967)

“Mrs. Semmler well deserves this honour…It is a tribute to her work over the years among the Eskimo people along the Arctic coast, and more recently to her leadership in community affairs in Inuvik.”

Mrs. Semmler was born in Old Crow in the Yukon in 1913, of a Swedish father and Indian mother. Her father, well-known trader Peter Norberg, opened isolated trading posts for the Hudson’s Bay Company at Tree River, King William Island and Bernard Harbour in the 1920’s. When Mrs. Semmler married, her connection with the northern fur trade continued; she and her husband opened a managed a small trading post at Cape Krusenstern, sixty miles northeast of Coppermine. Mrs. Semmler looked after the welfare and medical needs of the Eskimo population with only a first aid course and medical handbook to go on. Her work won the trust and respect of the Eskimo people throughout the region; they came as far away as Coppermine, sometimes on crutches, to seek her help. When flu epidemics struck, the Semmler’s looked after the population and ‘never lost a soul’.

From Cape Krusenstern, the Semmler’s moved to Aklavik and then to Inuvik where they again opened a trading store. With her three children and adopted son grown, Mrs Semmler has devoted more of her time to community work in recent years. She helped organize the Home and School Association, the Catholic Women’s League, the Women’s Institute and helped plan a YMCA building program [in Inuvik].

Before the presentation, Mrs. Semmler, in a blue silk dress and jacket, said she could hardly believe that she had been chosen for such a high honour. “I feel insignificant with all these women with Dr. in front of their names, and I’m nervous. I can face anything, but formal occasions give me ‘willies’.






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