After the loss of her husband in 1921, a 23 year old Iñupiat woman named Ada Blackjack was left without a dollar to her name.
She handed over her son to the temporary care of an orphanage and joined an expedition to Wrangle Island, between the Chukchi Sea and East Siberian Sea, serving as a cook and seamstress to the crew.
The team of 5 was left on the island, with the intention of claiming it in the name of Great Britain or Canada- unfortunately for them they were unable to hunt and gather enough food for sustenance after they depleted the rations that they had brought a long with them.
Some crew members attempted to leave the island, never to be seen again, leaving Ada and only one of the men behind.
The man eventually succumbed to scurvy, despite Ada’s attempts to nurse him back to health.
She was left completely alone on the island to fend for herself and survive in isolation in below freezing weather.
She survived as a castaway for 2 years, with only Vic, the pet cat of the expedition, as company.
She fought against freezing temperatures until 1923 when she was eventually rescued by one of the teams former colleagues, a man named Harold Noice, and was hailed “the female Robinson Crusoe” by the media- a fame which she rejected out of embarrassment.
Although many went on to profit from her story, Ada never did.