Conflict, politics and ethnicity


The asymmetry or inequality among nations and peoples has become more pronounced in the postmodern world economy (Isaak 1991, 6). International political economy in the Arctic should also consider the asymmetry of peoples, communities and regions, and what the sociocultural consequences of these asymmetries are. Economics with its social, political and cultural effects, or politics with its economical and sociocultural effects is the target of the study of IPE. This means that rather than separating different aspects of life the study should bring them together __more...__ (International Political Economy and the Arctic region M.Vaarala


Inuit (plural: the singular, Inuk, means "man" or "person") is a general term for a group of culturally similar __indigenous peoples__ inhabiting the __Arctic__ regions of __Canada__, __Greenland__, __Russia__ and __Alaska__. The __Inuit language__ is grouped under __Eskimo-Aleut languages__.__[1__]
The Inuit people live throughout most of the __Canadian Arctic__ and __subarctic__: in the __territory__ of __Nunavut__ ("our land"); the northern third of __Quebec__, in an area called __Nunavik__ ("place to live"); the coastal region of __Labrador__, in an area called __Nunatsiavut__ ("Our Beautiful Land"); in various parts of the __Northwest Territories__, mainly on the coast of the __Arctic Ocean__ and formerly in the __Yukon__ territory. Collectively these areas are known as Inuit Nunaat.__[2__]__[3__] In the US, __Alaskan__ __Inupiat__ live on the __North Slope of Alaska__ and the __Seward Peninsula__. Greenland's __Kalaallit__ are citizens of __Denmark__. __Siberian Yupik__ and __Sireniki Eskimos__ live mainly on the __Chukchi Peninsula__.

Since the middle of the 20th century, much of the Arctic has been in the process of entering a postindustrial stage. The Arctic is now facing several global trends like urbanization, competition over declining natural resources, welfare state retrenchment, and a transfer of authority from central to local governments. (Aarsæther, Riabova and Bærenholdt 2004, 140.) The situation in the Artic region nowadays has to be studied though through the historical knowledge and critical view. The trends today have their basis in the past, and history has shaped the Arctic region the way it is today.(Vaarala, 2006 )

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Multicultural Citizenship by Will Kymlicka Listen to podcast Minority Rights


The International Perspective: Indigenous peoples and the Legal Development

Polarsie Canadian, Swedish and new Zealand Indigenous races conflists related to land land and natural resources and the colonisation of these three countries as a comparativeand synergistic study '

'Respecting and Valuing Indigenous Rights'

Address at Human Rights Commission Symposia on Indigenous Rights to mark the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, August 9, 2006, by Joris de Bres, Race Relations Commissioner (Wellington) and Rosslyn Noonan, Chief Commissioner (Auckland)

August 9, 2006 Report:...
The Human Rights Commission conducted an extensive review of Human Rights in New Zealand Today: Nga Tika Tangata o te Motu two years ago, in which the recognition of indigenous rights was highlighted as a key issue. The subsequent New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights: Mana ki te Tangata addressed this concern with a specific outcome that "the particular rights of Maori as the indigenous people of New Zealand are respected and valued alongside the rights of all New Zealanders."

The Action Plan explained that:
"The recognition of indigenous rights has been the subject of considerable public debate both in New Zealand and internationally. There is developing jurisprudence both in New Zealand and in other countries in relation to self determination, customary rights, culture, language and the relationship between individual and collective rights.
"The Human Rights Commission's programme of community dialogue on human rights and the Treaty of Waitangi has indicated the need for continued discussion of these issues, and of how the Treaty of Waitangi encompasses both the indigenous rights of Maori and the rights of all New Zealanders. Three particular challenges were identified:
  • To recognise and respect the customary rights of tangata whenua in a way that is fair to all citizens and values the contribution that tikanga Maori makes to the New Zealand identity
  • To ensure the rights of Maori to live as Maori and also to participate fully in New Zealand society and
  • To affirm for all New Zealanders the right to belong.

We have come under international scrutiny by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This year we will also have to account to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination for our implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in general. We can therefore expect further international scrutiny and comment on our performance on indigenous issues in the coming year. New Zealand's opposition to the draft declaration has itself attracted some negative comment internationally.

There is clearly a need to continue the discussion within New Zealand about the nature of indigenous rights, bringing together both developing international perspectives and our own New Zealand experience of the Treaty of Waitangi. There are things we can learn from the recognition of indigenous rights and cultural diversity in other countries, ranging from the Saami in Norway and the Inuit in Canada, to the Flemish and Walloon peoples in Belgium and the Scots and Welsh in the United Kingdom. At the same time our solutions must be ones that draw on our own history, our own traditions and our own contemporary circumstances.

Visit (Pdf for full article: Respecting and Valuing Indigenous Rights )

( Wishart, D, 2005) visit ( Austlii- Ref: University NSW Law Journal)


Settler communities have adopted a variety of strategies to seek legitimate occupation of territory or use of resources. They have declared territory vacant, dispossessed prior occupants by force, wiped out the existing possessors, or signed agreements with the present inhabitants, whether or not these are nominated as treaties. Occasionally territory is received by way of gift and, less rarely than one would imagine if time immemorial is sufficient, there is an intermingling such that the communities are not seen as separate. Where there is a distinction between occupation and ownership, legitimate occupation may also be sought through relationships either of conquest or agreement with the owners as such.

This article explains how now, warfare, genocide and transfers of ownership simpliciter have come to be regarded as illegitimate, leaving us with settlement legitimised by consent. Agreement dominates current discussions of legitimate occupation. It appears to be the most commonly adopted strategy in relations between the settler community and prior occupants.[4] At least, this is so in New Zealand, Canada and Australia, the main sources of material for this study.[5] In New Zealand, agreements are implemented by legislation after a long process under the auspices of the Waitangi tribunal. In Canada, ‘First Nations’ peoples are negotiating and have made agreements for self-government and the control of resources; treaty-making continues, especially in British Columbia. The Australian Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (‘Native Title Act’) provides for the making and registration of agreements with regard to native title and other matters. Native title claims in the Federal Court can be settled by agreement, and there are a variety of forms of agreement quite outside the Native Title Act.

Interestingly Wishart discusses why these agreements have historical resonance in all these places and indeed most of the rest of the world. The Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand and the multiplicity of such treaties in North America, Africa and Asia testify to the power of the idea of agreement through history. Even the agreement known as the ‘Batman Treaty’ with the Wurundjeri people is remembered as an attempt to create a space for British settlement where Melbourne is now situated, when otherwise the existence of treaties with Indigenous peoples in Australia is denied.
Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand

New Zealand

Neo-colonialism subscribes to the Derridean idea of ‘the other’ as created to define the dominant culture. To a certain extent that is what is being said here. The point is that if agreement is to be deployed as the mode of governing in a field of social relations, parties to the agreement have to be constructed. In the New Zealand case one side is the Government and its other is the iwi in its current form. It would be easy to maintain that this is one-sided oppression where there has been interference in social relations of the Indigenous people, yet there is far more at work here. The Tainui are complicit in the reconstruction, as certain people gain power through institutional change. Of course this complicity is itself problematic, as there are substantial accountability problems with the organisational structures, and dissent and conflict in decision-making. Moreover, the place of the parties in relation to each other is redefined in the contracting process, as Government also has to define itself as a party and carefully articulate that position without compromising the New Zealand government’s claim to sovereignty. visit .[130]

Above Image ; (Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Feb 2009 )

Picture of the commemoration of this years event 169 years ago today 6 Feb 2009' A re -enactment located at the Bay of Islands, Maori paddle there 'waka' -canoe of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by indigenous tribes and European settlers, February 6 , 1840


The dichotomy of them and us is very evident during the white Australia policy which is not being discussed here but is of intresting debate as to where Australia was at during these times in early 1960's.


These issues are played out quite differently in Canada. The Indian Act has defined Indian social structure since 1868. The agreement process accepts such social structures as the recipients of the subject matter of the agreements, rendering the definition of party only problematic in the determination of who may represent the party in the protracted negotiation process. For example, such a definitive approach has difficulties with adoption. Another example is presented by the situation of the Metis people. They are the descendants of intermingled North American Indian and European races and now considered to be distinct from both.[131]

Human Rights considers Inuit Climate Change
Two years ago today 6 February, 2007 the Human rights body reconsiders Inuit climate change petition. In a surprising about-face, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has decided it will hold a hearing to determine whether climate change is a human rights violation.
The decision comes just two months after the organization rejected a petition filed by Nobel Peace Prize nominee Sheila Watt-Cloutier and 65 other Inuit in 2005.
An American commission will hear arguments from Inuit who say the changing climate is violating their human rights.
An American commission will hear arguments from Inuit who say the changing climate is violating their human rights.
An American commission will hear arguments from Inuit who say the changing climate is violating their human rights.
(CBC News 6 Feb,2007)
The petition states the U.S. is violating the human rights of Inuit by refusing to sign any international treaties to cut its greenhouse gas emissions.
Iqaluit lawyer Paul Crowley, representing the Inuit group, says the decision is important.
"They're definitely expressing an interest in the connection between global warming, climate change and human rights and Inuit being some of the more impacted by the climate change…." Crowley told CBC News.
The hearing will be held in Washington, D.C., on March 1.
The Inuit and two groups working with them on the case — The Centre for International Environmental Law and Earth Justice — will have an hour to convince the commission that the failure to curtail greenhouse gas emissions is a human rights violation.
A spokesperson for the commission says it decided to set aside time for the hearing because it considers climate change to be an important issue.

Visit .Global Warming Arctic and video Inuit hunting changes

Inuit Perspective Canada
"If we can reverse the emission of greenhouse gases in time to save the Arctic from the most devastating impact of global warming, then we can spare untold suffering for hundreds of millions of people around the globe. Protect the Arctic and we save the planet. Use us in the Arctic as your early warning system." - Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Chair, Inuit Circumpolar Conference 2/12/05
For millennia, the Inuit have lived in the Arctic coastal areas of Alaska, Canada, Russia and Greenland. Like many indigenous peoples, the Inuit are the product of the physical environment in which they live. The culture, economy and identity of the Inuit as an indigenous people depend upon the ice and snow. Climate change now threatens the Inuit's human rights to culture, life, personal security, health, housing, and food.
The Arctic is warming much more rapidly than previously known, at nearly twice the rate as the rest of the globe, according to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), a four-year scientific study conducted by an international team of 300 scientists under the direction of a high-level intergovernmental forum including the United States. Increasing greenhouse gases from human activities are projected to make the Arctic warmer still, according to this unprecedented report.
Visit: Inuit Circumpolar Council


WHEREAS ICC's 1992 Principles and Elements for a Comprehensive Arctic Policy states...
THEREFORE BE IT RESOVED that the Office of the Chair be directed to:
1. Develop and implement a political, legal, and media climate change strategy to bring Inuit concerns about global climate change and the threat that this poses to Inuit human rights to the attention of international agencies and decision-makers with the aim of strengthening international arrangements to combat global climate change. ,
2. Bring Arctic/Inuit perspectives on climate change to the attention of decisionmakers in North America, western Europe, United Nations agencies, and to governments that participate in the Conferences of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change with the aim of positioning Inuit to influence international discussions and decisions, particularly related to the post-Kyoto Protocol commitment period-after 2008.
3. Develop a petition to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC) or another appropriate body(ies) seeking a declaration that the impacts in the Arctic of human-induced climate change infringes upon the environmental, subsistence, and other human rights of Inuit.
4. To keep the Executive Council regularly informed and to seek the advice


Objectives and intentions
The Government's long term objective is to ensure full respect for human rights in Sweden. This means that human rights, as expressed through Sweden's international commitments, must not be violated. The Swedish legal system must comply with the international human rights conventions that Sweden has acceded to. These conventions are to be followed at both central and local government levels. To achieve the objective of securing full respect for human rights it is important to conduct regular reviews of the possible problems that exist with regard to the protection of different rights in Sweden. A key task is to increase knowledge and awareness of human rights. It is also essential that efforts to protect and promote human rights are coordinated. In the national action plan the Government adopts a coherent approach to human rights issues in Sweden, both specific rights issues and issues related to knowledge, information and organisation.

In March 2006, the Government appointed the Delegation for Human Rights in Sweden (Ju2006:02) to support the long-term work to ensure full respect for human rights in Sweden.

In the written communication A National Action Plan for Human Rights 2006–2009 (Govt. Comm. 2005/06:95), the Government takes a comprehensive approach to human rights in Sweden. The action plan, which contains a list of some one hundred measures in different policy areas, provides a tool for the work of ensuring full respect for human rights in Sweden and is intended for use by central government and government agencies, municipalities and county councils alike. The Delegation is one of the measures in the action plan and works on the basis of the written communication.

Terms of reference
Under its mandate the Delegation will

  • support government agencies, municipalities and county councils in their work to ensure full respect for human rights in their activities,
  • develop and implement strategies to increase information and knowledge about human rights in various target groups in society, partly by coordinating the EU initiative European Year of Equal Opportunities for All and the Council of Europe campaign All Different – All Equal in Sweden,
  • stimulate public debate on human rights, and
  • present proposals on how to provide continued support to work towards ensuring full respect for human rights in Sweden after the Delegation has completed its mandate in march 2010.

Human Rights Library Minnesota

Excerpt Section:

Case Study: Ivan Kitok v. Sweden, Communication No. 197/1985, CCPR/C/33/D/197/1985 (1988).

4.2 With respect to an alleged violation of article 27, the State party "admits that the Sami form an ethnic minority in Sweden and that persons belonging to this minority are entitled to protection under article 27 of the Covenant. Indeed, the Swedish Constitution goes somewhat further. Chapter 1, article 2, fourth paragraph, prescribes: "The possibilities of ethnic, linguistic or religious minorities to preserve and develop a cultural and social life of their own should Chapter be promoted. Chapter 2, article 15, prescribes: No law or other decree may imply the discrimination of any citizen on the ground of his belonging to a minority on account of his race, skin colour, or ethnic origin. The matter to be considered with regard to article 27 is whether Swedish legislation and Swedish court decisions have resulted in Ivan Kitok being deprived of his right to carry out reindeer husbandry and, if this is the case, whether this implies that article 27 has been violated? The Government would in this context like to stress that Ivan Kitok himself has observed before the legal instances in Sweden that the only question at issue in his case is the existence of such special reasons as enable the authorities to grant him admission as a member of the Sijrkaitum Sami community despite the Sami community's refusal . .. The reindeer grazing legislation had the effect of dividing the Sami population of Sweden into reindeer-herding and non-reindeer-herding Sami, a distinction which is still very important. Reindeer herding is reserved for Sami who are members of a Sami village (sameby), an entity which is a legal entity under Swedish law. (The expression 'Sami community' is also used as an English translation of 'sameby'.)These Sami, today numbering about 2,500, also have certain other rights, e. g. as regards hunting and fishing. Other Sami, however -the great majority, since the Sami population in Sweden today numbers some 15,000 to 20,000 -have no special rights under the present law. These other Sami have found it nrore difficult to maintain their Sami identity and many of them are today assimilated into Swedish society. Indeed, the majority of this group does not even live within the area where reindeer-herding Sami live. The rules applicable on reindeer grazing are laid down in the 1971 Reindeer Husbandry Act [hereinafter the 'Act']. The ratio legis for this legislation is to improve the living conditions for the Sami who have reindeer husbandry as their primary incane, and to make the existence of reindeer husbandry safe for the future. There had been problems in achieving an income large enough to support a family living on reindeer husbandry. From the legislative history it appears that it was considered a matter of general importance that reindeer husbandry be made more profitable. Reindeer husbandry was considered necessary to protect and preserve the whole culture of the Sami . . . It should be stressed that a person who is a member of a Sami village also has a right to use land and water belonging to other people for the maintenance of himself and his reindeer. This is valid for State property as well as private land and also encompasses the right to hunt and fish within a large part of the area in question. It thus appears that the Sami in relation to other Swedes have considerable benefits. How ever, the area available for reindeer grazing limits the total number of reindeer to about 300,000. Not more than 2,500 Sami can support themselves on the basis of these reindeer and additional incanes. The new legislation led to a reorganization of the old existing Sami villages into larger units. The Sami villages have their origin in the old siida, which originally formed the base of the Sami society consisting of a community of families which migrated seasonally from one
hunting, fishing and trapping area to another, and which later on came to work with and follow a particular self-contained herd of reindeer from one seasonal grazing area to another. Prior to the present legislation, the Sami were organized in Sami communities (lappbyar). Decision to grant membership of these villages was made by the County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen). Under the present legislation, membership in a Sami village is granted by the members of the Sami village themselves. A person who has been denied membership in a Sami village can appeal against such a decision to the County Administrative Board. Appeals against the Board's decision in the matter can be made to the Administrative Court of Appeal (Karrmarrästten) and finally to the Supreme

Administrative Court (Regerinsrätten). An appeal against a decision of a Sami community to refuse membership may, however, be granted only if there are special reasons for allowing such membership (see sect. 12, para. 2, of the 1971 Act). According to the legislative history of the Act, the County Administrative Board's right to grant an appeal against a decision made by the Sami cormnunity should be exercised very restrictively. It is thus required that the reindeer husbandry which the applicant intends to run
within the community be in an essential way useful to the ccmmunity and that it be of no inconvenience to its other members. An important factor in this context is that the pasture areas remain constant, while additional members means more reindeers. There seems to be only one previous judgement fran the Supreme Administrative Court concerning section 12 of the Reindeer Husbandry
Act. How ever, the circumstances are not quite the same as in Ivan Kitok's case . . . The case that Ivan Kitok has brought to the courts is based on the contents of section 12, paragraph 2 , of the Reindeer Husbandry Act. The County Administrative Board and the Courts have thus had to make decisions only upon the question whether there were any special reasons within the meaning of the Act to allow Kitok membership in the Sami community. The County Administrative Board found that there were no such reasons, nor did the Administrative Court of Appeal or the majority of the Supreme Administrative Court . . . When deciding upon the question whether article 27 of the Covenant has been violated, the following must be considered. It is true that Ivan Kitok has been denied membership in the Sami community of Sörkaitum. Normally, this would have meant that he also had been deprived of any possibility of carrying out reindeer husbandry. However, in this case the Board of the Sami community declared that Ivan Kitok, as an owner of domesticated reindeer, can be present when calves are marked, reindeer slaughtered and herds are rounded up and reassigned to owners, all this in order to safeguard his interests as a reindeer owner in the Sami society, albeit not as a member of the Sami coznnunity. He is also allowed to hunt and fish free of charge in the community's pasture area. These facts were also decisive in enabling the Supreme Administrative Court to reach a conclusion when judging the matter. The Government contends that Ivan Kitok in practice can still continue his reindeer husbandry , although he cannot exercise this right under the same safe conditions as the metiers of the Sami community. Thus, it cannot be said that he has been prevented from 'enjoying his own culture'. For that reason the Government maintains that the canpldint should be declared inadmissible as being incompatible with the Covenant."

4.3 Should the Committee arrive at another opinion, the State party submits that: "As is evident from the legislation, the Reindeer Husbandry Act aims at protecting and preserving the Sami culture and reindeer husbandry as such. The conflict that has occurred in this case is not so much a conflict between Ivan Kitok as a Sami and the State, but rather between Kitok and other Sami. As in every society where conflicts occur, a choice has to be made between what is considered to be in the general interest on the one hand and the interests of the individual on the other. A special circumstance here is that reindeer husbandry is so closely connected to the Sami culture that it must be considered part of the Sami culture itself. In this case the legislation can be said to favour the Sami community in order to make reindeer husbandry economically viable now and in the future. The pasture areas for reindeer husbandry are limited, and it is simply not possible to let all Sami exercise reindeer husbandry without jeopardizing this objective and running the risk of endangering the existence of reindeer husbandry as such. In this case it should be noted that it is for the Sami community to decide whether a person is to be allowed membership or not. It is only when the community denies membership that the matter can become a case for the courts. Article 27 guarantees the right of persons belonging to minority groups to enjoy their own culture. However, although not explicitly provided for in the text itself, such restrictions on the exercise of this right.... must be considered justified to the extent that they are necessary in a democratic society in view of public interests of vital importance or for the protection of the rights and freedans of others. In view of the interests underlying the reindeer husbandry legislation and its very limited impact on Ivan Kitok's possibility of 'enjoying his culture', the Government submits that under all the circumstances the
present case does not indicate the existence of a violation of article 27. For these reasons the Government contends that, even if the Committee should come to the conclusion that the complaint falls within the scope of article 27, there has been no breach of the Covenant. The complaint should in this case be declared inadmissible as manifestly ill-founded."


Summary of the Swedish Government Communication (2005/06:95)

The communication A National Action Plan for Human Rights, 2006-2009 sets out a coherent approach to human rights issues in Sweden. The communication contains a number of measures aimed at promoting respect for human rights during the period 2006-2009. In connection with the presentation of the action plan in March 2006, the Government established the Delegation on Human Rights in Sweden (ToR 2006:27).
Access A National Action Plan for Human Rights 2006-2009

ILO 169 versus InternationAL LAW


Saami Indigenous Perspective

On August 27, 1970, some 400 Sami in the small and till then little known community of Mási in Finnmark, the northernmost county of Norway, carried banners with this and other slogans, protesting the Norwegian authorities announcement for a new and vast hydro-electric development project of the Alta-Kautokeino river - plans which at that stage also involved the flooding of the entire settlement of Mási.1 This first protest - which eventually developed into the largest and most intense struggle for Sami rights of this century - was one of the early expressions where Sami advocated a view of themselves, which opened up for the growing self-understanding among Sami - like many other indigenous groups elsewhere during these years - that they shared destiny with other indigenous peoples.2

Indigenous issues have always emerged out of controversy and conflict. So also the UN International Year 1993 for Indigenous Peoples, which sprang out from the controversy concerning the 500th anniversary of Columbus voyage to America. Instead of celebrating the «discovery» of the Americas, indigenous organisations world-wide asked the United Nations to mark the event with a protest against how indigenous peoples had suffered 500 years of colonialism and oppression. After opposition from Spain and USA, the proposal was rejected. Instead, the United Nations declared 1993 as the International Year for Indigenous Peoples.

Today - so many years after the demonstration in Mási - much has changed, both in Norway and the rest of the world. As expressed by Rigoberta Menchu in her opening adress to this conference, indigenous peoples have - in spite of being the most repressed and weakly organised peoples at the margins of nation states and public interest - been able to make themselves visible, establishing their cause on international and national agendas. Basic rights that governments and majority populations of respective states long have claimed and enjoyed - the right to self-determination - is now increasingly being claimed by indigenous peoples through their struggles at the national and international level.

Indigenous people are today a global political fact - and still developing. However, the slogan from Mási in Northern Norway is still just as controversial as when it was launched - in Finnmark, in other regions of Sapmi - the Sami homelands extending across the northern parts of Russia, Finland, Sweden, and Norway - as well as in the rest of the world. But the political movement of indigenous people is more than a political awakening and mobilisation. The motto of the UN s Year of 1993 - «Indigenous Peoples - A New Partnership» shows the direction of this struggle. It involves a claim for a fundamental restructuring of indigenous peoples relations to the non-indigenous world - a challenge to international bodies, and particularly to national governments. Indigenous peoples are claiming both basic human rights, but also special rights and self-determination to their respective homelands within separate nation states. This is a claim for cultural uniqueness and self-expression, but also for equal worth, negotiation and partnership to governments and majority peoples.

Swedish Human Rights site

The Indigenous Perspective

The term «indigenous» cover a vast range of peoples with highly different life styles, living conditions and relations to their respective nation states, themselves comprising a variety of constitutions, systems of government, law and adminstration. In spite of these differences, separation by national boundaries and confinement to the geographical, socio-political and cultural margins of nation states, indigenous peoples have increasingly succeeded in organising themselves politically, reclaiming and rebuilding their own institutions and homelands.

This is truly one of the most remarkable global political events of our time. A significant outcome of this complex struggle has been the emergence of a shared indigenous identity, understanding, and perspective which is still developing and shaping international and national agendas. The various presentations of this conference can be read as different expressions of tis very perspective, as stated by Rigoberta Menchu in presentation to the Tromsø-conference.


The lesson is this: agreements operate within a way of thinking which constructs people in particular ways. The current phase of the trajectory of the liberal democracies with which this essay is concerned emphasises agreement as the means of welfare for both the individual and the community, after a period when the state was thought to provide better means to this end. In this phase, agreements are reified as providing the only way in which individuals relate to the world around them. This construction of the universe presents profound dangers for Indigenous peoples. Not only does it preclude alternative dealings, forcing agreements where there are spaces for their use, it also revises the subjectivity of those within the society in that phase. People increasingly conceive of themselves as contracting units, with preferences to be maximised. This is true also of people in the Indigenous community. To the extent that agreement displaces other cultural forms, those people will be complicit in that loss by encouraging the use of agreements. And that is, of course, why agreement is deployed.

On the other hand, in an imperfect world, how do we deal with the profound difficulties of intercultural clash, especially when one society is dominant, governing and seeking to expand its material wealth? Agreement between parties is one way, albeit as flawed as the rest. The most we can say is that agreement must be deployed with caution, fully comprehending that there are limitations and potentialities for good and evil and that we may not know what these are. Obviously, the more we know the better.

Nordic and National Perspective: The Saami and the legal and political challenges