Greenland photo

Some of my fondest memories of summer

(Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

This “midsommar,” or midsummer as Americans might call it, marks the 20th year since I first flew to Greenland to explore, pursue some old passions of Viking exploration and colonization of the arctic, and do some serious backcountry travel.

I succeeded on all fronts. I ended up visiting Greenland three summers in a row, in 1998, 1999, and 2000.

I made some amazing treks (Sisimiut to Kangerlussuaq, Igaliku to Qaqortoq, Brattalid/Qassiarsuk, to Narsaq) during each trip.

I made friends with local Greenlanders, who invited me into their homes and took me seal hunting and fishing.

I befriended several Danes, including two doctors, who made sure to extend hospitality to me when I visited their country.

I also participated in a celebration of the 1,000th anniversary of Leif Ericson’s arrival in southwest Greenland.

I thought about Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat in Greenlandic) this week as we entered that magical time of 24 hours of daylight in the arctic. In 1998, I hiked all night on June 21, 1998, north of the Arctic Circle, where the sun never set and the mosquitos never slept!

Here are a few photos highlighting the magic of that place, its people, its culture, and beauty. I hope they bring you some joy as in the northern hemisphere celebrates the arrival of summer.

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Inuit identity in the circumpolar north

In 2007, I attended the Inuit Circumpolar Conference in Barrow, which brought together the different Inuit groups, spanning the circumpolar north from Russia, to Alaska, to Canada, to Nunavut, to Greenland. The Inuit are distinct culturally, linguistically, and historically. Having traveled widely in Greenland and Alaska, this was abundantly clear in many of the ways these cultures express their identity and relation to the sea. Here are two perspectives on how closely linked Inuit culture is to its traditional hunting lifestyle, in this case hunting, killing, eating, and utilizing whales. You can also find other photos I have taken of Greenland and Alaska on my web site (www.rudyowens.com).