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Monday, 15 July 2013 12:40

Migrants of the High North

  A new film, "Vanishing Point", documents the migration of a group of Inuit between what today is Nunavut and Greenland. The migration took place quite recently, you could say, about a century and a half ago. Which is not very long ago, taking into account the millennia of Inuit roaming the High Arctic. And yet, much has changed since then. Through the voices of descendants of the immigrants in present day Qaanaaq, Northwest Greenland, filmmakers Julia Szucs and Stephen Smith recount a story that has been told many times before. In Greenland, it is is very well known. It is a story that keeps fascinating storytellers and audiences for a very basic reason shared by all good stories: it is good to think with. It’s the story about Qillarsuaq, a shaman living with his 50 or so fellow tribespeople somewhere in what is today known as Baffin Island in the Canadian Territory of Nunavut. Qillarsuaq convinced his people it would be a good idea to go on a long journey in search of some other people he did not know but had heard about.
Monday, 08 July 2013 11:00

Shrinking the Arctic

  The Arctic is shrinking. Or, at least, it will shrink when a new draft law “On the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation” prepared by the Ministry of Regional Development gets adopted. The present Russian Arctic zone includes the entire Murmansk Region, the Nenets, Yamal-Nenets and Chukotka Autonomous Areas, as well as some parts of Karelia, the Komi Republic, Yakutia, the Arkhangelsk Region and the Krasnoyarsk Territory. According to the new law, only areas with direct access to the Arctic coast will be considered Arctic, whereas huge inland areas in, for example, the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions and the Komi Republic will loose their status as Arctic areas and, consequently, various fiscal, economic and social benefits presently in force.
Friday, 05 July 2013 11:24

The AC Observer question since Kiruna

  At the recent Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Kiruna, Sweden, foreign minsters of the member states welcomed 6 non-Arctic states as Observers in the Council. Of these, 4 – China, Italy, Japan and Republic of Korea - had already for some time taken part in Arctic Council meetings on an ad hoc basis whereas 2 – Singapore and India – had not. After the Kiruna Ministerial, many asked themselves about the status on the applications of the 7 other, non-state organizations – Oceana, OGP, OSPAR, Greenpeace, IHO, APECS and WMO - not mentioned in the Kiruna declaration as well as that of the EU that was not welcomed but “received affirmatively” with the ministers’ final decision being deferred and the EU nonetheless being allowed to observe council meetings until consensus on the issue has been reached.
Thursday, 04 July 2013 11:44

It’s the 4th of July!

Today, the United States celebrates Independence Day, commonly simply called the 4th of July, the day that commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 by the founding fathers of the Nation. The signing of the actual resolution of independence took place 2 days earlier, on the 2nd of July 1776, in a closed session of the Congress. Furthermore, historians, by and large, have come to the conclusion signing of the Declaration of Independence did not happen on the 4th of July but, rather, on the 2nd of August. Nonetheless, because some of the signatories later wrote it happened on 4 July, it was this date that ended up being established as the National day of the United States.
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 13:20

Creating Canada

Early registration is now open for an exciting event hosted by the Land Claims Agreements Coalition: "Creating Canada: From the Royal Proclamation of 1763 to Modern Treaties,"a one-day Symposium on the foundations of treaty making in Canada. Featuring leading academics, experienced Aboriginal leaders and legal experts, this event will focus on treaties - both historic and modern - between Canadian Aboriginal peoples and the Crown. The organizers aims at interesting notables like Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Bernard Valcourt, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples James Anaya and Grand Chief of the James Bay Cree Nation of Iiyuuschee Matthew Coon Come in attending the event as speakers.
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 12:34

Quotas debated in Greenland

The Greenland Government has announced it intends to lift quotas for beluga, narwhal and walrus hunting in the Thule area, Northwest Greenland. According to the Department for Hunting, the reason for wanting to do so is twofold: traditional hunting techniques from kayak are being preserved by the Thule hunters to this day; at the same time, the number of inughuit hunters have dwindled to such a low level that their harvest of the three species in question will stay well within the limits of sustainable catches. Presently, the yearly quota is 20 belugas, 103 narwhales and 64 walruses for the communities of Qaaanaaq and Savissivik in the Thule district. Last year, a motion by the Siumut party to liberalize walrus hunting in Thule, at the time the main opposition party, was rejected by the majority of the Greenland Parliament. Back in power since the general election earlier this year, Siumut now strives to lift beluga, narwhale and walrus quotas, not only in Thule, but also in the other of the country’s two extremely remote, inhabited area, Ittoqqortoormiit in East Greenland.
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 11:57

Grand Chief Massey re-elected

Ruth Massie was re-elected for another 3-year term as Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) at the Council’s general assembly last week in Whitehorse. Running against Massie were former Chief of the Ta'an Kwach'an Council John Burdek and performer Sharon Shorty, described as being of the Tlingit, Northern Tutchone and Norwegian People. Herself a former Chief of the Ta'an Kwach'an Council in Whitehorse, Ruth Massie won by 28 votes against 10 to Sharon Shorty and 8 to John Burdek.
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 11:37

Dangers of Arctic Cruising

Taking a cruise to the Arctic might be life threatening, says Bjarne Rasmussen who has been sailing the Greenlandic waters for more than twenty years, in a arcticle brought by Metroexpress. “A cruise to the Arctic might be fatal, because in the summer there are ice blocks floating around, hard as concrete and the size of a house, in the seas north and south of Greenland. These blocks can make a hole in the hull on the ships not made for Arctic sailing”.
The 5th congress of the Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH) is scheduled to take place in the city of Genhe, Inner Mongolia, on 24 – 29 July. It is the first time a WRH Congress will be held in China. The choice of Genhe, an Evenki reindeer herding community, follows the Aoluguya Evenki joining of the WRH in 2009. The local hosts of the Congress are Genhe city and the Evenki Research Centre, and the overarching theme of the Congress will be “People, Reindeer and Nature; the Sustainable Development.”
Monday, 17 June 2013 09:05

Indigenous rights activist freed

Dmitry Berezhkov was freed from custody Saturday after having spent two days in the county jail of Nord-Troms, Northern Norway. The court found the conditions for extraditing Berezhkov to Russia were not fulfilled, his lawyer informed the local newspaper Nordlyset. Berezhkov is former Vice-President of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON). A couple of years ago, however, he moved with his family to Northern Norway to avoid persecution, some commentators are convinced, by the Russian authorities.
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Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat
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