Resilient Arctic societies and industrial development - Challenges to Indigenous living


  • 13:00 FEATURED TALK: Realities and Impacts of Aboriginal Institutions on Aboriginal Citizenship Regimes: A Comparison Between Nunavut in Canada and the Sami Parliament in Norway
    Authors: Simon Dabin ( Université de Montréal )

    Recognized by postcolonial writers as "state creatures" serving the purpose of assimilation but viewed by others (specifically indigenous elites) as an empowering tool serving indigenous interests, indigenous institutions are still at the center of a number of debates. If we agree with the postcolonial thinkers’ perspective about these institutions, we consider that their normative position has blocked all attempts to understand the real effect of these institutions in the long run. My research attempts to do so by examining how these institutions are changing the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the state. We want to see this relationship with the citizenship regime analysis tool that we can define as "all the institutional arrangements, rules and understandings that guide and shape the political decisions and common spending of States, definitions of problems by States and citizens and claims by citizens "(Jenson and Saint Martin 2003, 5). So the citizenship regime is a useful analytical tool to understand how relations between the state and indigenous peoples are framed. For this I’m establishing a comparison between Nunavut territory in Canada and the Sami parliament in Norway. Why this comparison? Because these institutions, if they are not structurally similar, they represent the interests of a population with the same contemporary problems (climate change, language protection, economic sustainability, etc.) and are part of a global indigenous movement that began in the 1970s to redefine indigenous citizenship and establish a more egalitarian relationship with states. These movements have changed the boundaries of citizenship and it can be assumed that the indigenous institutions within these movements, and as a reaction of the state (in Canada and Norway), contribute to these changes.

    My research studies the evolution and transformation of Inuit and Sami citizenship systems (I divide the citizenship regime into three indicators: the acquisition of rights (the history of indigenous rights and their exclusion or assimilation in dominant societies) , democratic participation (the evolution of the participation of Inuit and Sami in the dominant society) and identity (see the transformation of Inuit and Sami identity, the way they define themselves, are defined by society dominant and finally define the others) since the implementation of the territory of Nunavut and the Sami Parliament (created in 1999 and 1989 respectively).

    My presentation in the workshop will present my methodology and some preliminary conclusions.

  • 13:30 Missing stories from Nunavut's wall hanging: Confronting access to justice issues in the employment law system in the Canadian Arctic in the quest for economic development
    Authors: Gloria Song ( Polar Knowledge Canada )

    Economic development is an important priority for strengthening Arctic communities in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. And yet, one crucial aspect that has not been adequately addressed in academic discussions about Canadian Arctic economic development is the ensuring that workers have the necessary legal protections and mechanisms to address their work-related problems, and generally improving the Canadian Arctic territory’s employment law system. Employment law in Nunavut has generally received little if any academic attention in the past.

    This paper constitutes one of the first legal scholarly analyses of Nunavut’s employment law system in relation to economic development. This paper explores the state of employment law in Nunavut by reviewing the Arctic territory’s relevant employment laws and reports, and analyzing employment law court cases from the Nunavut Court of Justice, the Nunavut Court of Appeal, and the Nunavut Human Rights Tribunal to identify issues that occur during the legal process and general barriers for employment and economic development in Arctic communities.

    In doing so, the paper identifies a number of access to justice issues, indicating the shortcomings of the current Western-based employment law system operating in a predominantly Inuit context. Given the limits of the formal legal system, other innovative culturally-sensitive solutions incorporating traditional Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit values are recommended.

    This paper concludes that although some attention has been paid to Nunavut’s criminal justice system, legal reform in the Canadian Arctic must be further explored, in particular with respect to Nunavut’s civil law issues, including employment law, in order to support economically healthy, sustainable and resilient Arctic communities in the territory as envisioned by the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.

  • 13:45 Piliriqatigiingniq in Practice: a look at common governance principles in Inuit Land Claims Organizations between 2006-2016
    Authors: Katherine Minich ( McMaster ); Piers Kreps ( McMaster )

    Inuit land claim organizations are increasingly consulted for Indigenous representation and political positions at regional, national and more recently, international forums.  The public policy learning from Indigenous Peoples has shifted power sharing and coalitions, for example Inuit land claim organizations have greater involvement in wildlife planning and protection in Canada. In our work we analyzed three Inuit land-claim organization’s annual reports between 2006-2016 using an Indigenous informed framework.  The framework was two-fold including an institutional lens of UNDRIP and the Inuit-specific cultural lens of Inuit Qaujimatuqangit (IQ). We reviewed each annual report’s leadership statements, organizational trends, and self-directed activities. Findings were analyzed by region and by category.  Characteristics from each region and topic will be presented.

  • 14:00 Coastal Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic and the protection of marine environment
    Authors: Lara Fornabaio ( University of Ferrara ); Margherita Poto ( K. G. Jebsen Centre for the Law of the Sea, UiT )

    The article identifies the main challenges that climate change and environmental threats pose to the population living in the Arctic, especially looking at the indigenous peoples whose survival depends on the marine environment.

    The analysis starts from some considerations on the need to provide special protection to the Arctic marine environment and its coastal indigenous peoples (CIPs), taking into account food security issues. Indeed, the linkage between indigenous food systems and seascape means that climate change and food security are interdependent, as abundance or scarcity of food respond to temperature fluctuations. Then the paper shifts to the analysis of the different regulatory answers to the threats posed by climate change on the Arctic environment and on the indigenous population, as provided by international, regional and national actors, and namely: 1. the Arctic Council’s activity addressed to establish marine protected areas (MPAs); 2. the European Union’s attempts to preserve the Arctic Sea; 3.  the national establishment of MPAs with the consultation of the indigenous groups.

    The objective of the contribution is to investigate on effectiveness of the current legal tools to guarantee an adequate level of protection for the both marine environment and the coastal population, as well as on the possible ways to improve it. The vulnerability of all the actions undertaken so far lies in the scarce level of participation of the local peoples as well as by the lack of a political will to effectively decentralise the decisions that are connected to the management of marine protected areas. Potentially fruitful research lines will have to focus on a systematic mapping of the virtuous co-management regimes, where the participation of all the stakeholders is effective and the dialogue with the indigenous peoples and their local knowledge is lively and open.

  • 14:15 May Traditional Reindeer Herding Knowledge help in counteracting climate sensitive infections (CSIs)?
    Authors: Jan Åge Riseth ( Northern research institute (Norut) ); Hans Tømmervik ( Norwegian Institute of nature research (NINA) )

    The rate and magnitude of climate change (CC) are greater in northern regions than elsewhere. CC is likely to push the geographic boundaries of climate sensitive infections (CSIs) northward, thereby increasing the potential for inhabitant humans and animals to be exposed to new and/or exis­ting CSIs. Most CSIs are zoonoses, i.e. transmitted both-ways between animals and humans, and may be car­ried by vectors and reservoir organisms such as ticks, badgers and deer, which are expanding their ranges northwards. For many northern societies depending on animal husbandry or on other nature-based activities this means to deal with complex consequences of increased exposure to CSIs, which generates a dynamically interlinked scena­rio of societal, economic, political, and cultural change.


    The Nordic research project “Climate-change effects on epidemiology of infectious diseases and impacts on societies” (CLINF) addresses these chal­lenges, and aims to improve adaptive capacity, essen­tial to ensure socio-economic development and viable communities in the changing North. One aspect of the project is to put emphasis on traditional knowledge (TK) and its risk management potential. TK is culture- and experience-based, transferred across generations, and includes empirical facts, social institutions and management, as well as inherited world views; it is often focused on practical application and provides a basis for cultural and community continuity. The authors study how reindeer herders’ traditional knowledge (TK) may provide a reservoir of precaution and adaptation possibilities to counteract the threats by CSI. The methods are document studies (herder narratives) and interviews of TK-holders. Preliminary results will be presented.

  • 14:30 Using Traditional Arctic Games to Promote Sustainability and Peace in the North
    Authors: John Kilbourne ( Grand Valley State University )

    With climate change expanding trade routes in the Arctic and the resultant pursuit of oil, gas, mineral deposits, and fish, it is imperative that the eight Arctic countries find paths towards sustainability and peace in the region.  Revisiting and understanding the traditional games of the indigenous people of these regions can go a long way towards helping those determining the region’s future to work cooperatively towards these goals.

    Throughout history the games we have played have been a testament about who we were, and are.   From early Inuit bone and hunting games, to the gladiator contests of Ancient Rome, to the modern American game of baseball, the games we play have served as a statement of and a rehearsal for the life-world of that period and place.  By reconnecting with and understanding the games of our past, we can build meaningful bridges between our past and present, and hopefully gain a better understanding of our modern world.  The aforesaid are timely and important, especially as they relate to indigenous people throughout the world who are trying to preserve their traditions in a fast changing modern world. 

    This presentation/paper will offer, based on my research and experiences in the Arctic, lessons learned from traditional Sámi and Inuit games that may help promote sustainability and peace in the Arctic world.  Hopefully by acknowledging these lessons we can pursue a path forward, together reconnecting with the traditional games of the Arctic with the hope of building meaningful bridges between the past and present and moreover, helping to enhance our understanding of the important role traditional games can play in shaping an Arctic where sustainability and peace flourish.

Science Science

Wednesday 24th January 2018

13:00 - 15:00

Scandic Ishavshotel Ishavet 2

Add to Calendar 2018-01-24 13:00 2018-01-24 15:00 Europe/Oslo Resilient Arctic societies and industrial development - Challenges to Indigenous living Scandic Ishavshotel Ishavet 2

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