Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Arctic Promise

Arctic Promise: Legal and Political Autonomy of Greenland and Nunavut

Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 266
  • Book Info
    Arctic Promise
    Book Description:

    The Arctic Promisedeals with areas of comparative constitutional law, international law, Aboriginal law, legal anthropology, political science, and international relations, using each to contribute to the understanding of the right to indigenous autonomy.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8487-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Maps
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-16)

    Nunavut (meaning ‘our land’), which was carved out of the Northwest Territories (NWT) of Canada in 1999, and Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat, meaning ‘the country of Greenlanders’), which obtained home rule status within Denmark in 1979, are in the process of attaining more autonomy – Nunavut within the framework of the territorial governance system in Canada’s Eastern Arctic, and Greenland by anticipated extension of self-government within the Danish realm. This process of increasing autonomy is a result of a combination of factors. These include not only the development of Inuit political consciousness in both jurisdictions and consequent demands for self-determination, but also...

  7. 1 The Inuit of Greenland and Nunavut: From Subjugation to Self-Government?
    (pp. 17-32)

    According to some scholars, the Inuit of Greenland and Nunavut were self-governing people prior to colonization.¹ In both Greenland and Nunavut the extended family provided the social structure of Inuit society.² The extended family coordinated its members and made decisions about where to set up camp and about hunting and gathering activities. Overall leadership of each group rested with the oldest male.³ The Inuit ‘lived in numerous, dispersed clusters of small hunting camps ... Individual camps within each group tended to be made up of interrelated extended families, living together by common agreement.’⁴ The Inuit had a flexible system of...

  8. 2 The Constitutional Dimensions of the Governance of Nunavut and Greenland
    (pp. 33-52)

    Are Greenland and Nunavut examples of real autonomy for the Inuit or are they legal fictions, indulgences granted by Denmark and Canada? The legal understanding of the constitutional arrangements in Greenland and Nunavut cannot be explored without consideration of Inuit perspectives on autonomy. Canadian and Danish political, social, economic, and legal institutions were imposed on the Inuit. Colonial and modern state practices eroded traditional Inuit systems of self-regulation. Thus, the Inuit had to live under the alien structures of colonizers, who were not always inclined to accept indigenous institutions.

    Published materials and interviews with the Inuit show that they consider...

  9. 3 Territorial Government versus Home Rule: The Structure of Nunavut’s and Greenland’s Institutions
    (pp. 53-72)

    The Greenland Home Rule Act, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA), and the Nunavut Act provide the legal frameworks of governance, but the normative dimensions of these documents are not sufficient for understanding the internal developments and political institutions of Greenland’s home rule and Nunavut’s government. The effectiveness of Nunavut and Greenland governance systems and their institutions stems largely from thoughtful and active Inuit participation in politics. The autonomy of Greenland and Nunavut should be viewed through the policies of Greenlandic parties and Nunavut Inuit organizations. In this chapter I will examine the example of Greenlanders’ democratic participation in the...

  10. 4 The Jurisdiction of Greenland and Nunavut
    (pp. 73-102)

    The competence of Greenland and Nunavut in the justice system, international and foreign affairs, and security and defence policy is limited because these are areas where jurisdiction is traditionally non-transferable to subnational entities. Yet, the evolution of Greenland’s system of governance shows that Greenlandic authorities aspire to acquire more responsibilities than those envisaged by the Home Rule Act. As was indicated by the Report from the Commission on Self-Governance, if the island is to expand its autonomy and conduct its own affairs on a more independent basis, jurisdiction in these spheres must be reconsidered. The report examines issues such as...

  11. 5 Greenland and Nunavut in International Affairs
    (pp. 103-144)

    The scope of the Home Rule Act, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA), and the Nunavut Act does not go so far as to permit Greenland or Nunavut jurisdiction over international relations or defence and security policy. Despite this, Nunavut and particularly Greenland want to be involved in the security activities of their national states when the issue at hand concerns their lands. They are also active in various forms of international cooperation and indigenous internationalism, although formally their legal personality in international or domestic law does not permit such activities.¹ In this chapter, I examine the legal capacity of...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 145-152)

    The concept of autonomy is complex. It is surrounded by ambiguity in law and political science scholarship.¹ Although it is housed within the concept of self-determination, one can best understand its content and scope in the context of a particular situation. An empirical analysis of Greenland’s and Nunavut’s governance systems shows that autonomy is not a static phenomenon. It is a dynamic concept constantly developing and evolving towards more recognition at the de jure level.

    On the one hand, within the framework of territorial public governance and home rule structures, the Inuit of Nunavut and Greenland are able to secure...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 153-216)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 217-248)
  15. Index
    (pp. 249-255)