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85 Arctic Human Development Report 80 o Chapter 5 70 o Political Systems 60 o Lead authors: Else Grete Broderstad, University of Tromsø, Norway, and Jens Dahl, International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, Denmark. Contributing authors: Marcus Buck (University of Tromsø), Gail Fondahl,(University of Northern British Columbia), Ludger Müller-Wille (McGill University), Natalja Novikova (Russian Academy of Sciences), Gordon L. Pullar (University of Alaska, Fairbanks), Kathrin Wessendorf (In
  70 o 80 o 60 o Arctic Human Development Report The political systems of the Arctic are the resultsof an historical development that was initiatedby the expansive colonial policies of theEuropean and Euro-American states. The sub-sequent claims for self-government by indige-nous peoples have given rise to a number of new self-governing autonomous regions. Thetiming of this historical trend has not been thesame in all parts of the Arctic. One region may have been colonized several hundred years ago, while other regions were only incorporated after World War II. One of the main trends identifiedin this chapter is nation building in the Arcticfollowed by decolonization and the growth of regional autonomy.Today, most of the Arctic falls within states where a majority of the inhabitants live outsidethe Arctic region, with a range of political struc-tures to govern the relationships between thenation states and their northern regions. Thisremarkable variation in the types of govern-ment arrangements reflects demographic, geo-graphic, and political variations. But a commontheme is an increasing integration of indige-nous affairs into mainstream local, national,and regional government arrangements. Thisdevelopment is the second major trend dis-cussed in this chapter.Despite differences in political systems, acommon feature of Arctic politics is increasedindigenous participation in political processes.The main focus of this chapter is thus on thedevelopment of indigenous influence in thepolitical systems of the Arctic. Nation building anddecolonization Today’s political structures in the Arctic are theresult in part, of the historical formation of thestates and the building of new nations. The Arctic was seen as a frontier, and colonialismand assimilation became the main strategies of the states bordering on the Arctic in theirnation-building processes. This sectiondescribes the concept of nation building, andprovides an historical context for nation build-ing in the Arctic. The concept of nation building  Nation building denotes a process in which cen-tral claims on behalf of the state for economicand cultural standardization within its territory are met with counterclaims for political partici-pation and economic redistribution. The gener-al development in the Arctic has followed thephases of nation building described by SteinRokkan, with state formation and territorialconsolidation followed by standardization andcultural integration ( 1  ). Strengthening of humanrights and general democratization have forcedthe states to change this policy, but the respons-es have differed depending on history and statesystem. Arctic nation building was a process by  which dispersed communities were unifiedunder new autonomous political entities. Someof these efforts led to the creation of new states, while others were based upon the quest of indigenous peoples for self-rule.Nation-building processes lead to the closerintegration of a state and its population. It shouldno longer be possible to take decisions affecting the lives of the population of a country entirely  without regular channels of communicationbetween decision makers and those affected by their decisions. One relevant conflict dimensionin these processes involves the center versus theperiphery. Examples from the contemporary debate about the Arctic include discussionsabout democratic legitimacy and the strengthen-ing of political citizenship, redistribution of resources, and the growth of public welfare. 85  C  h   a  p t   e r  5   Political Systems  Lead authors: Else Grete Broderstad,University of Tromsø,Norway,and Jens Dahl,International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs,Denmark. Contributing authors:Marcus Buck (University of Tromsø),Gail Fondahl,(University of Northern British Columbia),Ludger Müller-Wille (McGill University),Natalja Novikova (Russian Academy of Sciences),Gordon L.Pullar (University of Alaska,Fairbanks),Kathrin Wessendorf (International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs).  Nation building is a long-term process andincludes much more than the last and ultimatespurt of the state formation process. Also,nation building may be followed by integrationson a higher post-national level, similar to whatcan be seen, for example, within the EuropeanUnion.The aim of nation building is to secure politi-cal stability and affiliation of political institu-tions across, among other things, ethnic loyal-ties. But this process can also create problemsthat relate to the understanding of the conceptof a nation as homogenous. In the nation-build-ing process, the state has several alternatives inits relationship with national minorities andindigenous peoples. The common characteristicof official minority policy in the North has beenassimilation. As an answer to assimilation policies, nation-al minorities and indigenous peoples havetaken the concept of nation building for theirown use. Nation building then refers to theefforts of indigenous peoples to increase theircapacities for self-rule and for self-determinedsustainable community and economic develop-ment. It also involves building institutions of self-government. Lingering influence of colonial history The Arctic was colonized during different timeperiods. While the indigenous peoples of theEuropean and Asian North came under the con-trol of traders, missionaries, and state represen-tatives in the 16 th and 17 th centuries, some areasof the Canadian North remained as almostindependent communities far into the 20 th cen-tury. This asymmetric development is an impor-tant factor explaining differences in politicalactivities in the circumpolar North.Using rivers or traveling along the coast,some parts of the North were easily accessibleto miners, missionaries, and traders. As they settled, they appropriated indigenous lands andterritories and subjugated indigenous languagesand cultures. Other areas were difficult to reachand were only controlled through trading sta-tions or scattered representatives of stateauthorities. It was in these latter regions that theindigenous peoples remained the majority of the population. Such demographic factors laterplayed a key role in the building of Arcticnations and the different political structures.In addition, nation building and politicalstructures in the Arctic have been determined by the fact that colonization imposed national bor-ders where there had been none before or where the borderlines were unsettled. Forexample, the Saami people inhabit an areadivided by borders of what are today four coun-tries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia.During the colonization of Arctic North America, Inuit became incorporated in differentpolitical hegemonies: Newfoundland, Quebec,the Northwest Territories, and Alaska (UnitedStates). Each of these territories had powerfulagencies that ruled over the Inuit, including theHudson Bay Company, the Royal CanadianMounted Police, and the church in theNorthwest Territories. By and large, it was notuntil after World War II that the Canadian statemade its political entrée in the Arctic.In some areas, missionaries following in the wake of colonization created divisions based onreligion or systems of writing. This was the caseamong Inuit and Indians in North America. Notonly did they come to belong to differentdenominations, but those Inuit living in the western Canadian Arctic used the Romanalphabet when the Inuit language was put in writing, while the eastern North American Inuitused a specially designed syllabic alphabet. Thesignificance of this cannot be underestimated.For example, while Greenland began develop-ing as a political reality with one vernacular asearly as in the middle of the 19 th century, inCanada, where neither religion nor written lan-guage unified the Inuit, the process of creating Nunavut was not initiated until the 1970s. Also, while the first newspaper in the Greenlandiclanguage was published in 1861, the first news-paper using the Inuit language (Nunavut) cameout more than 100 years later.In the Russian North, dozens of distinctindigenous groups were brought under TsaristRule from the 16 th century onward. The Tsaristadministrative system encouraged identity for-mation at the clan level. Later under Soviet rule,larger territorial-linguistic groups were identi-fied as important organizational units andbegan to self-identify as cohesive nations. This was encouraged by the creation of a standard-ized written language for some northern groupsunder the establishment of ethno-territorialunits in the 1930s. These ethno-territorial units,however, only encompassed a portion of thepeoples for whom they were established. Forexample, the Evenki Autonomous District only embraced within its bounds less than one-half the Evenki, and the Nenets people were dividedbetween three different Autonomous Districts, 86 Arctic Human Development Report   as well as regions outside of these. Such bound-aries hindered the development of nationalmovements among the indigenous peoples, asdid state policies strongly repressive of what was termed “bourgeois nationalism.” However,the Soviet creation of a special legal classifica-tion, “the small peoples of the North,” encour-aged the formation of a pan-absrcinal identity.This facilitated the indigenous people’s coordi-nation of their common concerns, and eventual-ly, toward the end of the Soviet period, activeresistance to ethnocidal state policies (  2-3  ).  Assimilation and recognition  World War II and its aftermaths, particularly theCold War, were a turning point for all regions of the circumpolar North. This was also the case inthe Soviet Union, although concerted expansioninto the Arctic took place prior to World War II.Had the central governments not been interest-ed in these areas before, the military signifi-cance of the polar seas changed that situation.In the Nordic countries (including Greenlandand the Faroe Islands), the social welfare ideol-ogy with its objectives of comprehensive social welfare, formal equality, and economic restruc-turing provided further reasons for paying attention to the North. Another component of the post-World War IIdevelopment was the continuation of the poli-cies of assimilation. Indigenous peoples were tobe integrated into mainstream society. Asdescribed in Chapter 3. Societies and Cultures.Change and Persistence  , indigenous languages were suppressed and children were forced intoboarding schools. Over a longer time-period,however, examples exist showing that the pen-dulum has swung between assimilation andrecognition of the unique position of indigenouspeoples. Details vary across the North, however,and are connected to not only the asymmetriccolonization but also the internal policies of the Arctic states.  Fennoscandia: In Fennoscandia, the historicalrelationship between the Saami and the nationstates has taken several distinct forms during dif-ferent historical periods. The first period, from theMiddle Ages to the middle of the 19 th century, was marked by state expansionism and attemptsto establish hegemony in the northern areas. Theattitude towards the Saami people was accom-modating ( 4  ), and both the Swedish-Finnish andthe Danish-Norwegian states acknowledgedSaami rights. When the borders betweenDenmark/Norway and Sweden/Finland weresettled in 1751, the so-called Lapp codicil wasdrawn up as an appendix to the treaty. A basicemphasis in this law document concerning Saami rights is “the conservation of the Saamination.”In the second period, which runs roughly from 1850 to 1950, a different relationshipemerged. Several efforts at colonization werecarried out. Local rights were removed and anew management system was established thatencouraged settlement in the Saami areas ( 5  ). Assimilation became official state policy. Thegeographical position and security concerns inthe border areas of the North are one explana-tion for the harsh assimilationist policy ( 6  ). Thispolicy also affected a minority group in Norway called Kvens, who are descendants of Finnishimmigrants. After World War II, the development of theNordic welfare states introduced the principle of equality through individual rights. In theprocess of assigning rights to the individual, cul-tural or ethnic identity was not considered rele- vant. The post-war recognition of the Saami asequal members of the state was thus that of individual members, not that of members of aseparate ethnic group or nation. However, thepost-war period ushered in an attitudinalchange in terms of how the nation state con-ceived of the Saami. Finland was the first toinquire into aspects of Saami affairs and devisesome institutional channels for managing Saami demands ( 7   ). In Norway, the NorwegianParliament agreed that the previous policy of assimilation belonged to the past. At that time,such a change was not obvious in Sweden andnot until the beginning of the 1970s did somereadjustments in the state’s policy appear ( 9  ).  Russia: Shortly after the revolution in 1917,Soviet authorities created a legal category, “theSmall Peoples of the North,” who because of their alleged backwardness would need specialassistance to reach the stage of socialism. Some26 peoples were identified in this category,though this number shifted over time, as thestate occasionally demoted groups and mergedthem with others, or reversed such decisionsand considered them as distinct. The Sovietgovernment founded ethno-territorial adminis-trative units for some of these peoples in the1930s (though with little real power), supportedthe development of writing systems in some of the indigenous languages, and initially estab-lished schooling in these languages. Medicalservices and trading cooperatives were built 87 Political Systems   C  h   a  p t   e r  5    throughout the North. The state also collec-tivized the reindeer herds and hunting equip-ment of the northerners, persecuted richerindigenous persons and religious leaders(shamans), attempted to settle the nomadicreindeer herding and hunting populations asmuch as possible, and instituted a boarding school system. The latter two policies resulted inthe rupture of indigenous families.Consolidation of initial, predominantly indige-nous settlements into larger multi-ethnic vil-lages increased assimilation pressures.Starting in the 1930s, and increasing after World War II, a strong policy of Soviet autarky led to the state encouraging massive in-migra-tion to its northern regions, both to developresources and to assert its sovereignty over itsperipheries. By the mid-20 th century, indige-nous peoples had become minority populationsin most areas of the Soviet North. Nationalcensuses showed poor growth and evenabsolute decline among a number of theindigenous peoples in the 1960s and 1970s, which was the result of both high mortality andrussification ( 3  ).  Alaska: Originally colonized by Russia, Alaska was sold to the United States in 1867.The heavy-handed policy of Russia towards theindigenous peoples had mainly affected thesouthern and south-western part of whatbecame Alaska, but under US rule educationand religion were used to assimilate all indige-nous Alaskan peoples. It was not until the1930s that Alaska Natives were included ingeneral US policy towards indigenous peoples.Moreover, the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, which ended the assimilation policy towards indigenous peoples in other parts inthe United States, did not apply here. By thenmost Alaska Native villages had self-govern-ment, often combining traditional governmen-tal forms with western influences. In 1936, theIndian Reorganization Act was amended toprovide Alaska Native villages with the author-ity to “reorganize themselves for governmentaland business purposes based on a commonbond of occupation, association or residence within a well-defined neighborhood, commu-nity or rural district.” The most important effectof post-World War II development was that Alaska became a state in 1959. Canada: The Royal Commission on AbsrcinalPeoples, in a report issued in 1996, states thatCanadian policies for 150 years have promotedassimilation. Despite differences in treatmentbetween Indians with a distinct legal status andInuit and Métis, the goal was assimilation ( 10 - 11  ). The government’s proposal in the so-called White Paper of 1969, which suggested that theIndian Act should be repealed and reserve landstransferred from federal to provincial control, was seen as an accelerated policy of assimilation( 10  ). The seeming contradiction between segre-gation on reserves and assimilation was bridgedby the premise that territorial separation was apreparation for assimilation ( 11  ). In 1970, thegovernment abandoned these proposals. Theconstitution was amended in 1982 to recognizeand affirm existing absrcinal and treaty rights.The constitutional recognition of “AbsrcinalPeoples” includes Indians, Inuit, and Métis. Greenland: In Greenland, the first Danishcolonial settlement was established in 1721. Inreligion, language and administrative proce-dures, assimilation has always been part of Danish colonial policy. Decolonization, whichstarted earlier than in other parts of the Arctic, was also used in this respect. It was initiatedfrom the top and the political attitude of theDanes toward the colonized people can becharacterized as “benign paternalism.” Mostlikely inspired by the political developments inEurope in the middle of the 19 th century, decol-onization and indirect rule became importantin governing Greenland. The first step wastaken in the early 1860s with the introductionof district councils that were quasi-democraticstructures made up of elected Greenlanders(male only) and members of the colonialadministration. These councils had a number of social and legal functions, but the most impor-tant was to distribute part of the profit from thecolonial trade back to the skilled hunters. They  were also important because it was the firsttime during the colonial period thatGreenlanders were involved in political andlegal decisions. In 1911, elected municipalcouncils had replaced these district councilsand two indirectly elected provincial councils were established. Franchise for women wasgiven in 1948. Decolonization and negotiations The attempts to decentralize but to keep control were a logical concomitant to the assimilationistpolicies of the Arctic states. Greenland was anearly example, and since the end of World War IIsome transfer of political authority has takenplace all across the Arctic. However, the early attempts at state-controlled decolonization 88 Arctic Human Development Report 
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