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Whit Fraser on the Canadian North and its leaders

Whit Fraser stands at a podium and speaks into a mounted microphone

April 1, 2024

The Canadian Studies Center, with support from the Center for Global Studies and the East Asia Center, recently hosted His Excellency Whit Fraser — former executive director of the national Inuit organization, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami; longtime CBC journalist; former chairman of the Canadian Polar Commission; and spouse of Canada’s first Indigenous governor general, Mary Simon.

Whit Fraser speaks at a podium in front of a group of seated people in the Petersen Room of Allen LibraryMr. Fraser talked about his memoir, True North Rising: my fifty-year journey with the Inuit and Dene leaders who transformed Canada’s North. He talked about the origins of his career as a journalist and his commitment to the North and its Indigenous activists and leaders. He shared photos and stories from his work covering the historic Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry, and highlighted the contributions of Indigenous groundbreakers – such as Abe Okpik, Jose Kusugak, Stephen Kakfwi, Marie Wilson, John Amagoalik, Tagak Curley, and his own wife, Mary Simon – to the negotiations and land claims processes that shared the Canadian North over the past several decades.

Mr. Fraser was in Seattle to serve as expert evaluator for the 2024 Task Force: Indigenous and International Relations in the Arctic, an undergraduate capstone that give students practical experience making policy recommendations. Read more about this year’s task force.