Kenn Harper, Arctic historian, knighted by Denmark

A teacher and businessman turned author and historian has been made a Knight of the Royal Order of Dannebrog in recognition of his work as Nunavut’s Honorary Consul of Denmark and his long support of Greenland.
Denmark’s Frederiksborg Castle, once the home of Danish royalty, was built around the same time the Royal Order of Dannebrog was created. It is now Denmark’s National History Museum. (Wikimedia Commons)

Iqaluit’s Kenn Harper is a Danish Knight.

Harper was appointed to the Royal Order of Dannebrog in recognition of his work as Nunavut’s Honorary Consul of Denmark.

"I am honoured and humbled to receive this recognition," he says. 

'I am honoured and humbled to receive this recognition,' says Kenn Harper. (Courtesy Kenn Harper)
Harper was named honorary consul in 2005. The first Danish consulate in Iqaluit officially opened the following summer.

The Royal Order of Dannebrog dates back to 1693, and was opened to non-nobles in the 1800s.

The Canadian government has formally approved the request by the Government of Denmark.

Harper originally came to the Eastern Arctic in 1967 as a teacher on Padloping Island, a community that was relocated to Qikiqtarjuaq a few years later.

He’s also lived in Qaanaaq, Greenland and speaks Inuktitut fluently.

Harper later became a businessman, and is perhaps best known as the recent owner of Arctic Ventures in Iqaluit, which he sold to Arctic Co-operatives Ltd. in 2012.

He’s also a linguist, historian and author.

The first of the In Those Days series published by Inhabit Media was released in November, 2013. (Inhabit Media)
His 2000 book, Give Me My Father’s Body, tells the story of a young boy from Greenland who’s brought by American explorer Robert Peary to New York and is shocked to find his own father’s skeleton on display in the American Museum of Natural History.

Harper has continued writing the stories of the Inuit who interacted with the famous explorers of the past, and whose lives were overlooked or misunderstood, in a weekly column in Nunatsiaq News which began in 2005.

Those columns are now being edited into a series of books called In Those Days, the first of which looks at the biographies of several Inuit pre-contact.

Harper is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society.