Nunavut: Inuit Regain Control of their Lands and their Lives
The Nunavut story told in this book by authors who have all been involved with Nunavut and Inuit politics for a very long time is an important one for indigenous peoples around the world and for anyone interested in indigenous issues. Stressing the political dynamics of the beginning of Nunavut's autonomous life, the authors provide a clear and accurate account of a remarkable political process. Following an introductory focus on three fundamental questions: Why did Nunavut come to life, what are the opportunities and challenges to come, and what is to be learned from this experience? the book continues with an investigation of Nunavut, its history and structure and the most recent developments and their impact on the people of Nunavut. The questions of how Nunavut became a reality and why it is considered a model by other indigenous peoples are raised, and an outsider's views on the establishment of Nunavut are presented by an Inuit leader from Nunavik, the Northern part of Quebec. Cultural issues such as the local place names and their symbolic significance for strengthening the will to political self-determination are taken up in one article. An outline of the history of the various orthographies having been used in Nunavut is drawn, and a closer look is taken at the absence of an indigenous literature and the intricacies associated with the introduction of a common writing system in Nunavut. The role of the television programmes produced by the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) in the Inuit language is examined. - What influence might such programmes have on Inuit identity and the transformation from an ethnic into a regional and political identity, are some of the questions raised. The important subsistence issue is dealt with in two articles, one on the different perspectives that have developed within the tradition of bowhead hunts in post land claim Nunavut, and another article on hunting and sharing and their changing roles after Inuit became dependent on the international market. In the final chapter Nunavut is compared with other models of indigenous self-government already existing in the world, as for example in Greenland and Scandinavia. The book is a remarkable achievement and should remind indigenous peoples from Australia to Asia to Africa to the Americas that many things are possible when being politically organised is combined with being persistent.