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Archibald Lang Fleming (1883-1953), First Bishop of the Arctic

Sitter in 1 portrait
In the early twentieth century, the Arctic was the largest diocese in the world, covering one third of Canada, with a population of approximately 10,000 inhabitants. In 1908 Fleming gave up his career as a naval architect to take up missionary work in Canada, and in 1933 when the diocese of the Arctic was formed, Fleming was consecrated as its first bishop. Nicknamed 'the flying bishop of the Arctic,' for his use of an airplane to tour his diocese, he would cover more than 5,000 miles on a single tour. Understanding that natives had their own culture, Fleming wrote of the need 'to keep the Eskimo from being civilised to a point where he loses his glorious primitive identity'.

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Archibald Lang Fleming

by Unknown photographer
vintage bromide print, 1930s
NPG x159052