Karla Jessen Williamson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Karla Jessen Williamson
Born 1954
Appamiut, Maniitsoq, Greenland
Residence Calgary, Canada
Education University of Aberdeen, Scotland
Occupation Educator, researcher
Employer previously, University of Saskatchewan
Known for Executive Director,
Arctic Institute of North America
Spouse(s) Robert Gordon Williamson

Karla Jessen Williamson (born 1954 in Appamiut, Maniitsoq, Greenland)[1] is Executive Director of the Arctic Institute of North America (AINA), the first woman and first Inuk to hold the position.[2] Fluent in Danish, English, and Greenlandic,[3][4] she is an educator and researcher on cross-culturalism,[1] multiculturalism, antiracism, and Aboriginal epistemology.[5]

Early years[edit]

Williamson, a Kalaaleq, was born in Greenland, and received her primary education there. She graduated from high school in Denmark. She received her bachelor's degree and her master's degree in Education[3] from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, and her Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen in Scotland.[5][6]


Williamson's research includes Inuit childbearing and gender roles in post-colonial Greenland.[7] She taught for sixteen years in the Indian and Northern Education program at the University of Saskatchewan before moving to the AINA on 15 September 2000.[6] She is also a Senior Researcher with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.[8]

Because of her role with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Arctic Human Health Initiative,[9] Williamson became the Activity Leader for the IPY 2007-2008 project "Arctic Resiliency and Diversity: Community Response to Change" in collaboration with the Inuit Circumpolar Conference.[10] She is a notable presenter on masking and promotes it for Inuit understanding of gender equality in relationship to ancestors, animals, and the environment. In addition, Williamson has been an editor for the Gabriel Dumont Institute's Journal of Indigenous Studies.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Williamson was married to Dr. Robert Gordon Williamson (1931-2012, Oxley, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England), an anthropologist, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Saskatchewan.[11] They have two children.[6] Karla is currently living near Saskatoon and working as assistant professor in the Department of Educational Foundations as the University of Saskatchewan.[4]


The Arctic is really the canary in the coal mine in terms of climate change.

— Williamson, 2003[12]

Partial bibliography[edit]

  • Jessen Williamson, Karla(2011) Inherit my Heaven: Kalaalit Gender Relations. Inussuk, Nuuk.
  • Williamson, K. J. (1987). "Consequence of Schooling: Cultural Discontinuity amongst the Inuit". Canadian Journal of Native Education. 14 (2), 60-69. OCLC 93453172


  1. ^ a b c "Different Lives, Common Threads". yukoncollege.yk.ca. 1999-11-14. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  2. ^ Graham, Amanda (2006-09-11). "Notable Northern Women: Elders/Teachers/Scholars/Scientists". yukoncollege.yk.ca. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  3. ^ a b "Karla Jessen Williamson, Contributor". banffcentre.ca. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  4. ^ a b Dickerson, Mark O. "Message from the Acting Executive Director" (PDF). ucalgary.ca. p. 3. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  5. ^ a b "ICIHRP Roots of Resilience Project". mcgill.ca. 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  6. ^ a b c Dickerson, Mark O. (June 2000). "The Challenge of Change" (PDF). Arctic. ucalgary.ca. 53 (2). doi:10.14430/arctic840. 
  7. ^ Stern, Pamela R. (2004). Historical Dictionary of the Inuit. Scarecrow Press. p. 154. ISBN 0-8108-5058-3. 
  8. ^ "Engaging Voices: a Season of Consultations on the TCPS" (PDF). Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics. pre.ethics.gc.ca. 2006-02-17. p. 2. Retrieved 2008-10-24. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Changing Environment & Human Health". arctichealth.org. 2006. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  10. ^ "Full Proposals for IPY 2007-2008 Activities". ipy.org. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  11. ^ "RG Williamson fonds". usask.ca. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  12. ^ Urquhart, Dennis (2003-10-17). "From DEW-line to Sea Lane". ucalgary.ca. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 

External links[edit]