North

Arctic scholar, politician Bob Williamson dies

Arctic scholar, activist and politician Bob Williamson has died.

Williamson founded the first Inuit language journal

Arctic scholar, activist and politician Bob Williamson has died. He passed away Sunday morning in his sleep at the age of 80.

Born in England, he began a long career in the North during a winter in Fort Simpson, N.W.T., when he began recording Dene folklore.

Bob Williamson, who was born in England, learned Inuktitut when he lived in Pangnirtung, Nunavut in the 1950s. He brought the first Inuktitut-language journal to the territory. He also served as a member of the Legislative Council for the Northwest Territories. (University of Saskatchewan)

He learned to speak Inuktitut while living in Pangnirtung in the 1950s and founded the first Inuit language journal – Inuktitut.

He founded the Eskimology section at the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. He was also an Anthropology professor at the University of Saskatchewan, where he pioneered the University's Arctic Research and Training Centre.

In the 1960s, he spent two terms as a member of the legislative council for the Northwest Territories representing the Keewatin.

Williamson also worked with Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, the Canadian Eskimo Arts Council, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, and the CBC Northern Service.

He was invested into the Order of Canada in 1983, and was named Professor Emeritus upon his retirement from the University of Saskatchewan.

He was married to scholar Karla Jessen Williamson. He had two children from his second marriage and four children from his first marriage.

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