Farley Mowat reports it in Westviking
, 1965, New York and Toronto. I've been lazy about this, but i'll dig it out and see if he gives a citation. In Iceland as well as Greenland, iron was an expensive import. Both settlements had one thing going for them in trade, and that was the hides, furs and ivory of pelagic mammals, which commanded a good price in mainland Europe. I suspect that in both locales, people pretty quickly learned to make and use stone tools just because coming up with iron was pretty difficult and expensive.
The Thorfinn Karlsefni saga makes it clear that the Norse were stupidly contemptuous of their aboriginal neighbors. There were no "Inuit" in Greenland at the time (not actually a proper term at that stage of history, there were two "Eskimo" cultures prevalent in northeast North America, the Thule culture and the Dorset culture). They only began to show up around the western settlement (actually northwest of the main eastern settlement) more than a century after the death of Erik--the date is unknown, but he was known to have been alive as late as 1005. In the Thorfinn Karlsefni saga, it relates how they encountered Dorsets in the first spring on Newfoundland, after they had sailed south along the west coast. They did some minor trading, and the Dorsets were impressed with the milk products the Norse produced. The following spring, a huge flotilla of boats full of Dorsets showed up, and the Norse lost it. First they attacked the Dorsets, who were surprised, but responded by using thrown spears (probably harpoons), bows and slings. The Norse didn't use missile weapons, and soon ran away. The Dorsets weren't a warlike people though, and they used the opportunity to escape from the crazy Norse, especially after one of the bulls became enraged and charged them.
Karlsefni and Freydis (Freydis Eriksdottir was one of the other expedition leaders) then returned to the first winter settlement at Anse aux Meadows. (Writing in 1964, Mowat identified that site as the most probable location of their settlement, and archaeology has since borne him out.) Soon, Karlsefni sailed south on the east coast of Newfoundland, and found hardwoods, which is what he had been looking for. Along with him was his wife Gudrid Thorbjarnarsdottir and their son Snorri Thorfinsson, the first European child known to history to have been born in North America. While timbering there, they encountered the Beothuk, an aboriginal Amerindian tribe, and it now seems almost inevitably, started a fight. They came off better than they had with the Dorets, but Thorfinn hurried to complete his cargo, and although they touched at Anse aux Meadows on the way back to Greenland, they didn't stay.
While Thorfinn was off on his first voyage south, Thorvald Eriksson lead an expedition north to Labrador (Thorhall the Hunter was looking for him when he and his boat crew were driven south by the storm and then caught in the North Atlantic current, which took them to Ireland). They followed the English River (as it is now known) into the interior to Lake Melville. Coasting south along the eastern shore, they came upon some Thule Eskimos sleeping on the shore--they promptly murdered them, later saying they were sure they were outlaws. One escaped however. Thorvald must have known they had acted badly, though, because he posted a lookout. The next morning, a fleet of Thule skin boats appeared, but the lookout warned them in enough time to get underway in their ship. The Thule weren't like the Dorsets, and they were out for blood. Thorvald's crew got away, but he took an arrow, and told his men he was not long for the world. At his request, they buried him on the shores of Lake Melville.
Whatever the Norse might have learned from their aboriginal neighbors, their all too common behavior assured that all theywould learn about was the effectiveness of the weapons those aboriginals carried.