• Oliver D. Smith deposited The Iñupiat Origin of Santa Claus on Humanities Commons 11 months, 3 weeks ago

    This paper rejects the idea the legendary character Santa Claus traces back to Saint Nicholas and instead proposes a more recent historical figure – Walter Clement Shields (1884–1918) who organised reindeer fairs in Seward Peninsula, Alaska between 1915 and 1918. Shields died of an influenza epidemic in 1918 but was by venerated by indigenous inhabitants of northwest Alaska, the Iñupiat. Stories of Shields in Iñupiat folklore became embellished when retold and they were spread by traders of reindeer meat across the US in the 1920s