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Throughout the course of history, men and women have roamed the earth in search of knowledge and enlightenment. Some of their explorations and discoveries have changed the course of human development in important ways, even as the names of these intrepid individuals have often been forgotten.
As an international organization dedicated to the ideal that it is vital to preserve the instinct to explore, the Explorers Club is in a unique position to recognize and show appreciation for the contributions of those overlooked pioneers who never received the gratitude they have earned. With this in mind, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee will initiate a Society of Forgotten Explorers. This designation will honor unknown, lesser-known, or unsung explorers from underrepresented communities and ethnicities, and tell their stories.
These will be men and women who are deceased, with emphasis on indigenous as well as female explorers, and who were not elected Explorers Club members or were active before The Explorers Club was founded. Examples of those who might be considered are the four Inuit explorers who accompanied Peary and Henson on their journey to the North Pole (Ootah, Egingwah, Seegloo, and Ooqueah) or Esteban de Dorantes, Teresa Littledale, Harkhuf the Egyptian, Bessie Coleman, or York, the slave who was a member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Since the Club’s bylaws do not provide for a category of posthumous membership, the Society of Forgotten Explorers will be an appropriate vehicle to highlight the diversity of past explorers and the contributions they have made.
By establishing a Society of Forgotten Explorers, the Club seeks to honor noteworthy, non-traditional explorers from antiquity. Details regarding nominations, selection, storytelling, etc. will be coming soon.
J. Robert Harris ME’93
Chair – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee