Established in 1979 as Home Rule and replaced in 2009 as self-government, the Greenlandic Inuit have developed the most advanced form of self-government. Concerning the status of the Greenlandic Inuit, this process of nation-state building may have an influence on being indigenous. The focus of this article is to answer the question of how indigenous peoples are affected by the existing relations of power and domination in a world polity. Taking the continued permission to hunt whales of the Greenlandic Inuit as an example, the article will demonstrate that Greenlanders adopt the projected images of otherness as their own because of the fear of losing the rights exclusively reserved for indigenous peoples. The early and later versions of a working paper by an international group of experts commissioned by the Greenlandic self-government illustrate the debate about the cultural self-images in Greenland. While the narration of the Greenlandic Inuit as indigenous peoples secures rights in international fora, a second narration of a collective identity of a small Nordic nation emerges and is discussed. The later version of the working paper emphasizes Greenland's indigenous status. The analysis shows the authority of global models since the categories of world polity dominate discourses on the cultural collective identity of the Greenlandic Inuit.
Frank Sowa is a Researcher at the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg, Germany.