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Lecture Series: “Uummannami Nipi” Uummannaq: Revival of the Aja Ajaja w/ Galya Morrell

Uummannaq - a heart-shaped island in Northern Greenland - is referred by many as the “Heart of the Arctic.” Today, like many other little settlements in the Far North, its culture is at risk of disappearing. The ancient ways of life that had survived for millennia are now disintegrating along with the disappearing ice.

In the old days, the sea ice was the center of a healthy living community. Everything – food, clothing, legends, and moral values – came from the sea ice. Songs were composed and stories were told beside seals’ breathing holes. Now, as the ice vanishes, people feel that they are rapidly losing the “ground” beneath their feet.

Join us in this rare opportunity to look into the lives and the disappearing culture of the Inuit as they take part in Uummannami Nipi, their community-based yet far-reaching initiative in Northern Greenland whose goals are to protect and support the indigenous dog-sledding hunting culture, preserve the old traditions of Inuit music, dance and storytelling, and thereby prevent the epidemic of suicides among the region’s youth brought about by the stresses of abrupt climate and societal change.

Arguably the world’s northernmost stage on the drifting ice, Uummannami Nipi functions as a collaboration of native hunters, international artists and local children that aims to revive the spirit of the community and protect the unique Greenlandic values that are disintegrating along with vanishing ice and the advance of “consumer civilization.”


Galya Morrell – co-founder and Artistic Director of Uummannaq Music, will screen “The Tale of Uummannaq,” a 15-minute documentary.

Ole Jorgen Hammeken – a local hunter and a lead actor in the award-winning film based on real events at the Uummannaq Children’s Home, will screen an episode from “Inuk,” illustrating the deadly effects of global warming.

Ann Andreasen – head of Uummannaq Polar Institute and Børnehjemmet “Uummannaq,” the world’s northernmost children home, will speak about the institution and its goals.

Jens Zeeb – a graduate of the Uummannaq Children’s Home, will talk about his personal journey as a child in Greenland’s capital Nuuk to Uummannaq, where he rediscovered his roots.


Ole Jorgen Hammeken, a native Greenlandic explorer and social worker, based in Uummannaq, led the 2006 'Global Warming Dogsled Expedition,' a 500km journey across the Greenland ice sheet from Uummannaq Fjord to Ilulissat, the focus of which was to draw attention to climate change. Hammeken completed a circumpolar voyage in a motorized open boat in 2008, and in 2009, he played the lead role of Ikuma in “Inuk.” He is a member of The Explorers Club.

Galya Morrell has more than twenty-five years of experience in the polar world. As a polar correspondent for Pravda (the leading Soviet newspaper before 1991), she regularly reported from the Soviet polar drifting stations. Since 1984, she lived and travelled with the Chukchi, Nenets, Khanti, Komi and other “small peoples” of the North, publishing her observations in many articles and the book “Koin’s Ride”(1984). Her photographs from the Soviet Arctic are kept in many private collections including the Presidential Library of Michael Gorbachev. She co-organized 3 International Festivals “Children of the Arctic” (1990-2011).

Ann Andreasen received her Masters in Pedagogy from the University of Copenhagen. She has resided in Uummannaq since 1983. Ann is a director of Børnehjemmet “Uummannaq” – the world’s northernmost children’s home, known as the last resort institution for troubled children who have been rejected by all other orphanages. In 2005, she founded UPI - Uummannaq Polar Institute, which works to conserve Greenland's local culture and promote educational programs for Inuit children. Jean Malaurie is its Honorary President.

Jens Zeeb graduated from the Uummannaq Children’s Home, and now works at the Home as a teacher and assistant. An accomplished hunter and fisherman, as well as an aspiring musician and athlete, he is a worthy role model for the younger children.

Date: 3/5/2012

Time: 6PM Check IN, 7PM Start

Location: New York City Headquarters

Member Ticket Price: No Charge

Guest Ticket Price: $20

Student Ticket Price:

$5 w/ Student ID

Reservation Notes:

Payment must accompany reservation. Tickets are secured only when a credit card is provided at the time the reservation is made. Reservations made without a credit card are not secured and tickets will be forfeited by 6:50pm the evening of the lecture.

Reservations are suggested on a first-come, first-served basis. Please call 212-628-8383, Fax 212-228-4449, or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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