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.
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.
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.