About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

55 Nordic J. Int'l L. 68 (1986)
International Combinations, Present and Possible, between Circumpolar Inuit National Groups - Politics, Problems and Potentials

handle is hein.journals/nordic55 and id is 76 raw text is: International Combinations,
Present and Possible,
between Circumpolar Inuit National Groups.
Politics, Problems and Potentials
By R. G. Williamson *
The discussion of what has been called northern nation autonomy may usefully be
enriched by further attention to two significant dimensions in addition to the major
legalistic forms. It is increasingly appropriate to study the development of relative-
ly autonomous or potentially-autonomous regions of the north, not only in their
>parent state constitutional context - but increasingly with more rigorous attenti-
on to the integrated details of distinctive cultures involved. This means working
from the folk roots and vital values which are the cultural foundation of the society
in question and give character to its entirety. At the other end of the continuum are
the developing pan-nation or international cultural-group organizations. These
function first to reinforce culture-based politicized entities on a regional basis, and
also in many cases can exert internationally-weighted leverage on individual states
concerning some policies and issues. Furthermore - these pan-culture movements
are often seen as the possible shapers of some future new form of culture-based na-
tion transcending state boundaries. This latter apprehension is as often a percepti-
on from outside the group as it is an aspiration within, and both outsiders and insi-
ders view it with varying degrees of seriousness, if they are amongst those who
consider it in terms of reality.
I shall begin with two simple but needed definitions.
These will make it clear why it is necessary to deal, however briefly, with the traditi-
onal social structure and values of the group in this study. I will go on to trace, also
briefly, the historical development of politicization in the various regions of the In-
uit circumpolar world, and then trace the growth of the international combinati-
ons. I will make some brief comment on the involvement of the formal govern-
ments in international relations concerned with their segments of the circumpolar
world. I will deal at some greater length with the problems of internationalization
and the undertow of regionalization. Finally I will deal with potentials for circum-
polar international relations, and conclude with a specific instance where some
concrete problem-solving can be accomplished through formal international orga-
For the purposes of this discussion, it is necessary to define politics in a very basic
way. Let us begin then by seeing it as the acquisition, maintenance, delivery and de-
ployment of power. Thus defined, we are able to consider politics as part of the dy-
namics not only of macro-social organizations, but also as part of micro-social
groupings, such as hunting and gathering bands anywhere in the world. In this case
we are dealing with society which has in only relatively recent time gone through a
metamorphosis from Arctic semi-nomadic hunting life to urbanization and mo-
dern complex society organization.
Politics feed on and are stimulated by issues, and so this too must be the object
of definition. I will define an issue as a widely-perceived problem over which diffe-
rent opinions are held in broad public discussion - leading towards some form of
politicization. It is necessary to work from these two simple definitions because of
• Professor of Anthropology, University of Saskatchewan, Canada.
Guest Scholar, Center for Arctic Cultural Research, Umei University, Sweden.
For support for some part of the work of which this paper is one result - the author wishes to acknow-
ledge the Center for Arctic Cultural Research, University of UmeA, Sweden; the Bodil Peterson Founda-
tion of Denmark, and Stiftelsen Seth M. Kempes Minne, Sweden.

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing thousands of academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline.

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most