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University of the Arctic: Nunavut and Norway share ideas during Cambridge Bay visit

by NationTalk on November 9, 20101748 Views

November 8, 2010

They came. They saw. They conquered our hearts.

This past week Cambridge Bay’s Human Services Program hosted Jan-Erik Henriksen and Nina Hermansen, Professors of the Social Work Program of Finnmark University, Alta, Norway.

Jan-Erik and Nina journeyed here under the University of the Arctic’s North2North program. This was the second part of an initiative which saw our future Social Workers go to Norway in the spring of 2009. At that point, a letter of understanding was adopted to encourage this exchange of circumpolar ideas between Nunavut and Norway Social Work faculty.Jan-Erik brought with them a kaumatik load of good will. They were just great guests. They entertained, shared their culture, traditions and experiences and provided thought-provoking information everywhere they went. Since they are both representatives of the Sami people of Northern Europe, they were able to provide insight into how their people have dealt with issues like acculturation and assimilation.

And the people of Cambridge Bay responded with good cheer of their own. Jan-Erik and Nina went out on the land several times. They were treated to a feast of Muskox Stew, Char Chowder and Bannock. They watched drum dancing, met with the children at the elementary school and spent some time with the elders at the Heritage Centre.

And, of course, they were here to give out candy to Trick-or-treaters at Hallowe’en.

Part of their journey also included a week in Yellowknife meeting with indigenous groups as well as addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Association of Social Workers in Northern Canada. They spoke on the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Social Work as well the as the development of full University Level Social Work programs accessible to the Sami in Northern Norway.

For more information on the University of the Arctic, visit their web site at:

Kevin McGill, Cambridge Bay

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