After Sir John Franklin and his crew went missing while searching for a Northwest Passage in the 1840s, Inuit shared stories and knowledge that helped the world better understand the Arctic and the fate of the Franklin ships and their crews. That same profound knowledge of history and the natural world – or Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit – combined with western science and the perseverance of a broad group of partners, led by Parks Canada and involving Inuit and the Government of Nunavut among many others, led to the discovery of the wreck of HMS Erebus in 2014 and then HMS Terror in 2016. These storied ships of the Franklin Expedition now comprise the Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site – the first national historic site in Nunavut cooperatively managed with Inuit.
Inuit are an integral part of the Franklin story, and co-manage with Parks Canada the Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site. At the time of the Expedition, Inuit had been living on the land, sea and ice in the area of King William Island for generations. They were first-hand witnesses to the Franklin Expedition, and they helped contribute to the search for the lost vessels over the ensuing years. In 2014, Inuit knowledge helped the Government of Canada and other partners finally discover the wreck of the HMS Erebus. The location of the second ship was discovered in 2016 as part of this multilateral partnership.