Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 29

29 Arctic Yearbook 2014 Greenland ‘catechists’ with limited educations, who also served as priests. In that respect the Greenlandic children were roughly equal to Danish children in most rural areas, except that the curriculum in both cases was decided upon by Danish authorities (Lidegaard 1993). Unlike the teaching offered by other colonial powers across the world (insofar as they offered any teaching at all), the teaching offered by the Danish administration in Greenland was given in Greenlandic. During World War II, Greenland was practically cut off from Denmark, while the United States ensured Greenland the necessary supplies and defense against the German occupation that had already befallen Denmark (Grønlandskommissionen 1950; Heinrich 2010). Simultaneously, Greenland functioned as a very important link for the U.S. airlift to Europe, which is why the U.S. established several air bases and military stations in the country, creating a significant interaction between the population of Greenland and the American soldiers. The end of the war marked a turning point in the Danish attitude towards Greenland, and in the following decades a relatively well-planned and very rapid modernization of Greenland took place, where Greenland’s status as colony changed to in theory become a more equal part of Denmark. In order to enable modernization, the Danish administration sought to gather the people in fewer and permanent settlements (Grønlandskommissionen 1950; Boserup 1953; Grønlandsudvalget 1964). The motive was partly to ensure better housing and health conditions for the population, which was a major challenge, as many still lived in sod houses and tuberculosis was widespread and claimed many lives. Another important motive was to gather the people at the best fishing places, where the fish processing plants were built, with the intention that Greenland should be financially selfsustaining primarily through fishing (Grønlandskommissionen 1950; Grønlandsudvalget 1964). At the same time massive investments were made in the development of the education system, and in the absence of Greenlanders with extensive formal schooling, Danish teachers were imported en masse. Likewise, it was primarily Danish craftsmen who were responsible for construction and the establishment of infrastructure and Danish health care professionals who staffed hospitals and the smaller settlements’ nursing stations. Greenland experienced increased prosperity and population nu X