This article argues that any attempt to conceive of a new narrative of the postcolonial Arctic will fail if it does not also entail a new narrative of European history. It begins by asserting the strong afterlife of colonial narratives of the Arctic through the example of the author’s own difficulty in writing an authentic, ethically acceptable report about East Greenland. By drawing on further examples, and by introducing narratological theory, the article moves on to consider the colonial narrative of the Arctic. It argues that the prototypical colonial narrative of the Arctic is modelled on Moby-Dick: a hunting and whaling story in which the setting is made up of landscape, wildlife and indigenous populations. The colonial narrative is gradually transformed as the indigenous peoples of the Arctic leave the setting and become agents in the narrative. Indeed, it is only when the indigene attains the place of the subject telling the story that we can seriously claim to have a postcolonial narrative of the Arctic. The article goes on to analyse two instances of such transformations of the colonial narrative: the works of the Danish-Greenlandic visual artist and researcher Pia Arke and the Sami visual artist Katarina Pirka Sikku. Both question the narrating subject in travel literature and scientific discourse about the Arctic, reclaiming that position for themselves.