Arctic Yearbook 2012
Inuit Political Engagement in the Arctic
the Arctic region and shaping domestic and international policy with implications for the
circumpolar world and beyond.
I would like to thank Eric W. Finke, Environment, Natural Resources, and Public Policy; Vincent
Gallucci, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington University of
Washington; and, Cheri Rauser, The Virtual Librarian Service for their invaluable comments on this
paper. I would also like to thank Bo Barker, Barker Martin, P.S., for making this research possible.
The United States issued its first Arctic foreign policy in 1994 and, the second as a directive
from Homeland Security signed by the outgoing Bush administration, in 2009; Canada produced
a northern dimensions of foreign policy in 2000, and a northern strategy in 2010; Norway
released its high north strategy in 2006, and an updated version in 2009; Denmark and Russia
issued their respective Arctic strategies in 2008; Finland in 2010; and, Iceland and Sweden
released their Arctic strategy and policy, respectively, in the spring of 2011. See also Lassi
Heininen’s article in this volume which outlines the Arctic strategies in detail.
The European Union released a communication on the Arctic in 2008, “The European Union
and the Arctic Region” laying the groundwork for an Arctic strategy (see European Union,
External Action, http://eeas.europa.eu/arctic_region/index_en.htm). An additional
communication was released in June 2012; see Weber et al.’s commentary in this volume. China
does not have an Arctic policy but there is considerable mention in the media that a strategy is
The Inuit Circumpolar Council is a multinational non-governmental organization founded in
1977. The primary goal of the organization is to strengthen Inuit unity across the circumpolar
North, promote Inuit rights and interests, and ensure the survival of Inuit language and culture.
The ICC represents about 155,000 Inuit from Greenland, Alaska, Canada and Chukotka (Russia).
Permanent Participants do not have the same status as the member states, however they may
raise points with the chair and must be informed of all decision-making and activities. Few
decisions are made within the Council without the support of the Permanent Participants.
Seven of the eight Arctic Council member states have significant Arctic indigenous populations
represented by the Permanent Participants. Permanent Participant organizations must represent
an Arctic indigenous people from more than one nation, or many indigenous groups within a
nation as with RAIPON.
For a full account of Watt-Cloutier’s petition and testimony, see the Earthjustice website at