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Vikings in the Nor’ Wast: The Roots of Orkney’s Identity in Norway and Canada
LANGE, MICHAEL A.
Scandinavian-Canadian Studies, Vol.17, (2007)
This article delves into the cultural identity of the Orkney Islands by examining the narratives people tell about Orkney’s historical relationships with Norway and Canada. Orkney, just off the northern coast of Scotland, was settled by Scandinavians during the Viking period, and the people of Orkney still draw strongly on Scandinavian, primarily Norwegian, imagery in their own conceptions of the islands’ identity. A millennium after the Vikings arrived, people went from Orkney to Canada with the Hudson’s Bay Company, and family and cultural ties were forged between Orcadians and First Nations people throughout Canada. I explore both relationships through an ethnographic study of Orcadians’ ideas about their islands’ connections to Canada and to Norway. Both relationships include characterizations of a tough, rugged, individualistic person—a Viking explorer.