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Polar Peoples: Self-determination and development

1 January 1994

The northern regions of the globe were populated by indigenous peoples long before explorers, gold-diggers, bureaucrats and others ‘discovered’ their land. Polar Peoples describes the sometimes catastrophic effect these incomers and the changing world in general have had on native ways of life in this vast geographical area. It also outlines the awakening of native political activism and some of the most important steps taken towards self-determination by the indigenous peoples of the North.

  • Greenland: Emergence of an Inuit homeland (by Mark Nutall) Unusal because of Home Rule from Denmark
  • Native Peoples of the Russian Far North (by Nikolai Vakhtin) Little known outside Russia, these minority groups face an uncertain future
  • The Alaska Natives (by Fae L. Korsmo) Highly significant because of the Alaska Native Claims Act
  • The Inuit of Canada (by Ian Creery) Dene and Nunavut claims have been the subject of much political activity in recent months
  • The Saami of Lapland (by Hugh Beach) Currently dealing with many different issues, from the ongoing effects of Chernobyl on their reindeer herds, to the disintegration of the Soviet Union

With each section written by a recognized expert in his or her field, Polar Peoples gives a fascinating look at this politically and environmentally changing area on the roof of the world.

This book is not currently available in our library in PDF format, but you can access it through the Internet Archive:

Please note that the terminology in the fields of minority rights and indigenous peoples’ rights has changed over time. MRG strives to reflect these changes as well as respect the right to self-identification on the part of minorities and indigenous peoples. At the same time, after over 50 years’ work, we know that our archive is of considerable interest to activists and researchers. Therefore, we make available as much of our back catalogue as possible, while being aware that the language used may not reflect current thinking on these issues.


Nikolai Vakhtin

Ian Creery

Hugh Beach