QAANAAQ, GREENLAND -- Anaukaq Henson, 80, the half-Eskimo son of American polar explorer Matthew Henson, died June 29 in his home village of Moriusaq, Greenland, just three weeks after returning home from his first trip to the United States. He had cancer.
Mr. Henson, an arctic hunter, returned June 8 from a two-week visit to the United States, where he met with his American relatives. While in the United States, he told Harvard University black historian and neuroscientist S. Allen Counter, who arranged his visit, that he was going home to die and be buried next to his wife, Aviaq.
Matthew Henson was Robert E. Peary's black American assistant and joined the U.S. Navy commander and four Eskimos on the first trip to the North Pole in 1909. As the result of an earlier arctic expedition, in 1906, both Peary and Henson fathered children by Eskimo women in this area, the world's northernmost inhabited spot.
The existence of sons Anaukaq Henson and Karree Peary was reported in the 1950s by French ethnologist Jean Malaurie. But Counter made them more widely known last year when he visited the area and wrote a magazine article.
Mr. Henson told Counter he had fulfilled his last wish, to meet his American relatives and visit the birthplace and grave of his father.
Karree Peary accompanied Henson on his trip to the United States, which included stops at the grave of Robert Peary at Arlington National Cemetery, a visit to Cambridge, and meetings with Henson and Peary relatives in Maine and Maryland.
Mr. Henson's survivors include five sons and 23 grandchildren.