Canadian Arctic Symposium
"Science, People, & Sustainability in the Canadian Arctic: From the 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition to the 2013 Arctic Council Chairmanship"
- 2013 marks both the centennial of the Canadian Arctic Expedition (CAE) and the beginning of Canada's second term as Chair of the Arctic Council. To mark both occasions, on November 5, 2013, the Consulate General of Canada in Minneapolis and the University of North Dakota hosted a symposium on Science, People, & Sustainability in the Canadian Arctic. Vilhjalmur Stefansson, the leader of the CAE's Northern Party, was a student at UND from 1898-1902. Participants learned about Stefansson's legacy; the ongoing scientific, territorial, and cultural significance of the CAE; Canada's present-day Northern Strategy and Arctic Council priorities; and U.S.-Canada Arctic cooperation. For more tweets & photos, check out #CAE100 on Twitter
- Prior to the event, the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune published two commentaries introducing the symposium themes, including a column by editorial board member John Rash and an article by Consul Brian Shipley, focused on Canada's Arctic Council Priorities.
- The Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections at the University of North Dakota's Chester Fritz Library curated an impressive display of Stefansson's published works, private papers, and other archival materials.
- Dr. David Gray, one of the event speakers, contributed his own original CAE artifacts to the display. During his talk, he explained that some were collected in the field - and some on Ebay.
- The symposium began with "Origins" featuring Dr. Gray, a scientist, independent researcher, writer, and filmmaker specializing in Arctic subjects. Dr. Gray curated a major exhibition on the Canadian Arctic Expedition, Expedition Arctic: 1913 – 1918, for the Canadian Museum of Civilization. In 2013 Gray headed a research and filming expedition to Banks Island, NWT, to locate and document sites used by the CAE.
- Dr. Gray was followed by local experts Dr. Doug Munski, UND Professor of Geography, and Mike Jacobs, publisher and editor of the Grand Forks Herald, both of whom provided additional color on the Icelandic community's migration to North Dakota from Manitoba, and stories of Stefansson's early years in North Dakota and as a UND student.
- Noted polar explorer Will Steger spoke next about Vilhjalmur Stefansson's inspiration on his own Arctic explorations. Steger has traveled tens of thousands of miles over the last 50 years by kayak and dogsled, leading teams on some of the most significant polar expeditions in history, including the first confirmed dogsled journey to the North Pole without re-supply in 1986.
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