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Arctic historian and archaeologist, John R. Bockstoce has been traveling and working in the North since 1962. He has carried out a series of excavations at Bering Strait and served for ten seasons as a member of an Eskimo whaling crew at Point Hope, Alaska. In the 1970s he descended the Tanana and Yukon rivers by canoe from Fairbanks to Nome and traveled along the coast from there to Barrow Strait in arctic Canada. Later he twice traversed the Northwest Passage by boat.

He is the author of many books, monographs, and articles, including Arctic Passages: A Unique Small Boat Voyage through the Great Northern Waterway (1991, 1992), Arctic Discoveries: Images from Voyages of Four Decades in the North (2000), High Latitude, North Atlantic: 30,000 Miles through Cold Seas and History (2003), and the award-winning Whales, Ice and Men: The History of Whaling in the Western Arctic (1986, 1995). The University of Alaska recently conferred on him an honorary Doctor of Science in recognition of his contributions to Arctic studies.