Indigenous peoples in Greenland

Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) has, since 1979, been a self-governing country within the Danish Realm. In 2009, Greenland entered a new era with the inauguration of the new Act on Self-Government, which gave the country further self-determination within the State of Denmark.

Greenland has a public government, and aims to establish a sustainable economy in order to achieve greater independence.

The population numbers 56,000, of whom 50,000 are Inuit. Greenland’s diverse culture includes subsistence hunting, commercial fisheries, tourism and emerging efforts to develop the oil and mining industries. Approximately 50 per cent of the national budget is subsidized by Denmark.

Indigenous Peoples Organisations

The Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), an indigenous peoples’ organization (IPO) and an ECOSOC-accredited NGO, represents Inuit from Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Chukotka (Russia) and is also permanent participant in the Arctic Council.


The majority of the people of Greenland speak the Inuit language, Kalaallisut, while the second language of the country is Danish. Greenland is increasingly becoming a multicultural society, with immigrants from many parts of the world.

Legislation on Indigenous Peoples

In 1996, at the request of Greenland, Denmark ratified ILO Convention No. 169

Yearly update

Download the 2016 yearbook article on indigenous peoples in Greenland to learn about major developments and events during 2015.