Speech by Ambassador Anne Kari H. Ovind at the ceremony in the Library of Parliament

Ottawa, 1 June 2017

Monsieur le président du Sénat, Monsieur le président de la Chambre des communes, Sénateurs, Membres de la Chambre des communes, Commissaire du Nunavut, Mesdames et Messieurs,

Je suis ravie de vous présenter aujourd'hui un exemple vraiment unique de l’histoire que nous partageons.

L’édition spéciale du Journal de l’explorateur norvégien Roald Amundsen, qui a été la première personne à franchir le passage complet du Nord-Ouest, est présentée aujourd’hui, pour la première fois, en version anglaise.

With his own words and terminology of that time, Amundsen gives us a rare insight into day-to-day interaction with the Inuit, how they learned to know each other and learn from each other.

The relationship between Amundsen and the Inuit was characterised by mutual respect.

Together with Amundsen’s scientific background, the traditional and local knowledge gained from the Inuit was a key factor in his later successful expedition to the South Pole.

By trading everyday products, Amundsen gathered what is today the world’s most comprehensive collection of Netsilik artifacts.

Several of these items were transferred in recent years back to the Nattilik Heritage Centre in Gjoa Haven, where Amundsen lived for 2 years.

The Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, together with the Heritage Centre, and with support from Heritage Canada recently launched a digital portal for the entire collection, making it accessible for everyone to enjoy.

This special edition of Amundsen’s diaries has been made with the same goal in mind: To share knowledge about our common past with Canadians and the wider world.

Such knowledge sharing is essential, both to understand the past, but also to prepare ourselves for the future.

The new agreement on research cooperation, recently signed by the Arctic States, is an example of this attitude in a circumpolar context.

Roald Amundsen was, more than 100 years ago, a living example of this attitude.

The special edition of his diaries is therefore a fitting symbol to mark both our 75 years of diplomatic relations and the 150th Anniversary of Confederation.

Je suis donc vraiment honorée que le journal d’Amundsen ait dorénavant une place toute particulière dans la bibliothèque iconique du Parlement canadien.

Joyeux anniversaire Canada !   Happy birthday Canada !