Denmark knights Arctic historian

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Iqaluit, the capital city of Canada's eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut. (The Canadian Press)
Iqaluit, the capital city of Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut. (The Canadian Press)
Kenn Harper of Iqaluit, the capital city of Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut, is now a Danish Knight.

Kenn Harper has been Honorary Consul of Denmark since 2005, and the first Danish consulate in Iqaluit opened officially the following summer.

In honour of his work he was appointed to the Royal Order of Dannebrog, an order that began in 1693 and eventually opened to non-nobles in the 1800′s.

Kenn Harper was born near Toronto, in Ontario. He arrived in the eastern Arctic as a teacher in 1967. He was so enamoured of the people and the place that he became fluent in Inuktitut.

To listen to Radio Canada International‘s conversation with Kenn Harper, click HERE

He has been successful as a businessman, a linguist, a historian and a writer.

Kenn Harper. (CBC)
Kenn Harper. (CBC)

His book, ‘Give Me My Father’s Body: The Life of Minik, the New York Eskimo’, Harper tells the incredible and sad story of a young Inuk boy, brought to New York City in 1897 with his father and five others by explorer Robert Peary. They were studied and displayed by people at the American Museum of Natural History. The actor, Kevin Spacey wrote an introduction for the book, and has an option on one day producing a film-version of the story.

Kenn Harper’s latest book, called, ‘In Those Days’, is one of a series compiling his columns in Nunatsiaq News, on the history of the people and their encounters with Europeans.

Of the recent honour by the Danish government, Kenn Harper said, “‘I am honoured and humbled to receive this recognition.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  4 northern projects share Canadian Arctic prize, CBC News

Finland:  Finnish composer wins Polar Music Prize, Yle News

Greenland:  Film explores ties between Inuit in Greenland and Canada, Eye on the Arctic

United States:  Crews unearth military history on Alaska Glacier, Alaska Dispatch

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Carmel Kilkenny, Radio Canada International

For more news from around the world visit Radio Canada International.

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