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Issue No: Eight______________
Part 4_____________Date: December, 1977


Some years after he arrived, he gave the Thule area to the state of Denmark. (The last 150 years or so, that is, the colonial history of Greenland, has been the only period covered in most histories of Greenland. Only Europeans or those who mixed with them have been noted. Now Greenlandic history is being viewed in a different way, rediscovered as it were. The story of the Greenlandic people themselves has not yet been told: the story of those who kept Greenland alive, and Greenlandic identity alive, even today.) When the Viking colonizers first came to Greenland and saw the advantages of south Greenland, they named it "Greenland" as part of a propaganda campaign to attract people from Iceland and Scandinavia.

When the Greenlanders got tired of their history being told from the Dane's viewpoint, and bored with being subordinate to the Danes, a movement started in the 30's to abolish the colonial status of Greenland, with its Eskimo population of 40,000 -- 40% of the Eskimo population of the world. The first sign of this movement emerged during the Second World War. During that war, Greenland was cut off from Denmark and the country's civil government was administered by the Danish ambassador in Washington, D.C. During this time, Greenland was independent and supplying itself, trading with the U.S. Because of the increase of education and information, Greenlanders discovered they also occupied a place in the international world of families.

One of the first things they did was to get on an equal status with Denmark. As soon as Greenland was accorded this status, it became very fashionable for Greenlanders to "become Danish." Some of us realized even then that this was missing the whole point. We cannot transfer our identity from being human to being Danish. Denmark is always 5,000 miles away.

During the 60's, some of us young people were able to receive a full education, which included attending the University of Denmark in Copenhagen. There we discovered lots of things which we used as tools. For one thing, we started a political movement which began very innocently as a non-political organization. You have to understand that during the 50's and 60's they were still educating people, not for life in Greenlandic society -- as they did before the war -- but for Danish society. It was still a kind of brain-washing.

Today in Greenland, the state religion is Lutheran, as in Denmark. Nearly everyone is baptized, but not everyone attends church on Sundays. It's getting to be kind of a formality. Once the church was very strong and influential, but I think it is losing its influence now.

When the missionaries came, they had to introduce some new concepts of good and evil. In the traditional Greenlandic Eskimo concepts, there is no place like hell. The spirits after death go to good places, either in the sea or in the heavens. So, looking for a word to express hell and the devil, the missionaries chose one of the most influential deities of the Greenlandic religion and called him the devil. This was really excellent strategy. They were telling us, "your god (and ways) are evil, ours are good."

In primary school, the instruction was all in Greenlandic language -- the ancient Eskimo tongue. What we were taught there was Greenlandic arithmetic and Danish, but the Danish was very elementary. So we were functionally literate in Greenlandic, but not in Danish.

After that we were sent to a boarding school after the seventh grade for two years of preparation for high school. Since the classes in the four-year high school are taught in Danish, we spent those two years trying to learn Danish. We learned a lot about the European way of life -- four-story houses, and paved streets -- things we had never seen. A strange thing, really. The main thing in education during that period was that if you couldn't speak Danish, you were considered dumb. And if you could speak Danish well, you were smart.

The high schools of that time were a copy of the Danish high schools, the same equipment, the same thinking and curricula. There we also had to learn English and German. If we wanted to go further to junior college to receive a baccalaureate, we had to learn Latin. Only those with the best degrees were sent to Denmark to junior college. We also had to be able to read Norwegian and Swedish, which we really don't need in Greenland.

It is understandable that very early in all this, we got very tired of all this Danish and of the Danish snobbishness toward Greenlandic society which we were beginning to discover had a history and dignity of its own. The whole thrust of the system was Danish. We didn't have too many opportunities to assert ourselves, but what we did was to get through junior college and start at the university level where we discovered a new freedom to choose our subjects and talk about anything. What a relief! We were not dormitory kids anymore (half of our lives had been spent in dormitories).

So, the modern Greenlandic home rule movement began in the University of Denmark among us young students becoming politically aware. We started our political activities, using our Greenlanders Association, making resolutions and statements, and talking to the Greenlandic Land Council politicians. We were beginning to wake up and realize how little we knew about what was going on.

The membership of the Greenlanders Association at the University was very young. Yet out of this group would come the leaders of the Greenlandic home-rule movement. First there was Moses Olsen. Later on came Jonathan Matzfeldt, and Lars Emil Johansen. Lars Emil was a member from the first and very bright. At the age of 22 or 23 he was elected to the Greenland Land Council. He is a member of the Danish Parliament now and doing just fine. One of the most significant events was when the first Eskimo, Moses Olsen, got elected to the Danish Parliament from Greenland. He was very strong, the kind of person one doesn't fool around with. He did us a lot of good because we wasn't afraid to say anything.

When a Greenlander, Knud Hertling, was elected Minister of Greenland, Moses was very close to him and suggested the need for home rule. The Minister agreed, and they proposed to the Danish governmental home rule commission consisting only of Greenland politicians. The proposal was accepted and the Greenland Home rule Commission was set up. At first, for two years, it contained some Danish as well as Greenlandic politicians.

The story of the Greenland home rule movement was that we were tired of being fooled around with by the Danes. Yet, what we wanted we decided had to be achieved through the Danish constitution. The attempt to take the best qualified people from Greenland and make good Danes out of them was a great failure during the 60's. One of the things we want is to make Greenlandic -- which is still universally spoken there -- the official language of Greenland.

In 1972, an election was held to determine whether or not we should join the European Common Market. In the results, 70% of the Greenlanders voted against it, but the majority of the voters in Greenland were in favor of the move. Because of the equality of Greenland with Denmark, we were "kicked into" the Common Market against our will.

Around 1972, Iceland started to extend its fisheries to 50 nautical miles. In that period, we had a lot of Norwegian and Icelandic friends, and in the Greenlandic association we formed a committee for extending fishing territories in the North Atlantic. We got involved with the Greenlandic hunting and fishing associations. England sued Iceland for extending the fisheries and was upheld in court. Iceland ignored the judgment and went ahead and extended its territories to first 100 and then 200 nautical miles. We began proposing to do the same thing with our fisheries. Right now, we have extended them to 100 miles. But they are not exclusively Greenlandic, because of our involuntary association with the Common Market. This is another reason we would like to be independent from Denmark -- the countries of the Common Market are allowed to fish inside the Greenlandic economic zone. Another thing we would like to do would be to regulate our own foreign trade and foreign policy. And we would like title to the land, which now, according to the law, does not belong to the Greenlanders.

While the early Greenlandic organizations began in Copenhagen, a lot of those people came back to Greenland to begin new organizations there. The most important was the Siumut Party, founded by Lars Emil Johansen, Moses Olsen, and Jonathan Matzfeldt. It is now the largest and majority party in Greenland. Last year, other people more pro-Danish formed another political movement, which is very active, called Atassut.

Coastal Zone Management

NSB CZM staff have noticed sudden interest in a little-known or used piece of environmental protection legislation, the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (P.L. 92-532), which President Jimmy Carter said he was going to ask his Interior and Commerce Secretaries to use to protect areas exposed to the risks of offshore oil and gas development. Like many of the Nixon-administrations environmental protection initiatives, this legislation was passed with great fanfare, but never funded or implemented except in two cases, the Monitor Marine Sanctuary surrounding the wreck of the USS Monitor off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and the Key Large Coral Reef State Park in the Northern Florida Keys (100 square miles).

NOAA has recently assigned a full-time Coast and Geodetic Survey Officer to the process of identifying potential marine sanctuaries, and he is seeking nominations. The NSB. like other organizations in Alaska, is considering adding this legislation to its CZM strategy by making a Beaufort Islands Marine Sanctuary nomination in the face of the projected 1979 State/Federal Beaufort Sea near shore lease sale.

State Standards Proposed for Coastal Zone Management

On November 28, Coordinator Glen Akins of the Alaska Coastal Zone Management Program submitted to the State Coastal Policy Council a draft of the Guidelines and Standards of the State program. The draft will be reviewed and voted on by the Policy Council, January in Juneau.

Besides offering internal guidelines for the operation of the Coastal Policy Council -- made up mainly of officials of Alaskan coastal municipalities -- it sets up the relationship with Federal coastal programs. It then sets up standards and priorities for the State coastal zone program and ends with a chapter on District programs.

The State Program section includes standards for development: human settlement and shoreline development, recreation, heritage and tourism, energy, transportation and utilities, fishing and fish processing, forestry and forest products processing, mining and mineral processing, and waste discharge. In "Shoreline Development," the draft states: "Districts and state agencies shall identify areas of the coast suitable for the development of ports, harbors, marinas, and water-dependent or water-related industrial, commercial and recreational use. . Districts and state agencies shall identify hazard areas m the coastal areas including areas of potential flooding, tsunami run-up, landslides, snow slides, earthquakes, subsidence, and severe erosion. Development and related activities in these areas may not be approved unless siting, design, and construction measures for avoiding or minimizing potential loss of life and damage to property have been provided."

In the section entitled, "Recreation, Heritage, and Tourism," the proposed standards read: "Districts and state agencies shall protect important historical, cultural, and archaeological resources. . . (and) shall insure that proposed development is compatible with existing community character and visual access to the community."

As to energy development, the proposed standards read: "When energy development is proposed for a site in the coastal area, districts and state agencies shall require the developer to submit an environmental report which evaluates short-term probable impacts on the coastal area. Districts and state agencies shall then prepare a management plan which addresses the protection of resources within the district and responds to the concerns expressed by residents of the district concerning the proposed energy development."

The proposal instructs agencies to identify and plan for these resources: offshore areas, estuaries, wetlands and tide flats, rocky islands and sea cliffs, barrier islands and lagoons, rivers, lakes, and inland wetlands, feeding, nesting, and migratory areas important to wildlife deemed rare or threatened, spawning areas, and areas important for subsistence, wilderness, or scenic values.

In the chapter on District Coastal Management Programs (such as that already initiated by the North Slope Borough), District programs are ordered to develop adequate organizational structure complete with available budgetary and staff information and a community participation program that includes at least two informal public meetings during program development and one formal hearing prior to final approval of the program. The District programs are to conduct a resource inventory which includes natural and cultural resources, land and water uses, and land and resource ownership. An evaluation of the environmental capability and suitability of coastal resources for land and water use has to be submitted, along with an assessment of the present and anticipated demands upon coastal resources.

Policies developed by the District Program must be
1) submitted to the Alaska Coastal Policy Council for approval,
2) comprehensive,
3) specific and clear, and 4) enforceable.

This draft document has been reviewed and reviewed by many government agencies and industry. Among the suggestions and criticisms offered are the following:
1) The standards do not make clear the relationships of Federal and State CZM processes or at what point Federal agencies will be involved in developing standards. Even though Federal lands are excluded from the State plan, there are significant reasons to establish effective coordination at the beginning.
2) Subsistence uses of coastal zones are not clearly protected.
3) Fresh water appropriation is not addressed for management.
4) A specific approach to Coastal Management by ecosystems would be more scientific and feasible. In this regard, NSB representatives have called for U.S. Canadian Cooperation in Coastal Zone Management of essential to the State plan.
5) Many felt all development should be specifically outlawed that causes substantial adverse environmental, ecological, or cultural effects.
6) It is the NSB position that oil and gas leasing is a vital and legitimate tool in planning coast zone activities and as such it should be a prerogative of the local district CZM programs to assist in the State oil and gas leasing programs, going so far as redefining the nature of private proprietary rights to information developed from the exploration by oil companies of public lands.


The 16 mm. color-sound 8-minute film on Inupiat aboriginal subsistence bowhead whaling has proven to be a valuable tool in fighting the IWC bowhead moratorium and also in making the case for conserving subsistence aboriginal lifestyles. The film is on loan for free and is also available for purchase for $50.00. It is also available in 35 mm. and Super-8 sound prints. Those wishing to show or review the film should contact Whaling Film, 610 H St., Anchorage, Alaska 99501. Phone: 907/274-2414

Quebec Inuit Land Claims
and The James Bay Agreement

The Inuit land claims movement in Northern Quebec is almost synonymous with the history of the James Bay Agreement -- a massive Native land claims settlement between the Cree Indians, the Quebec Inuit, the Province of Quebec, and the Government of Canada. Negotiations for this settlement began in 1973 and ended in 1975, the settlement was finally signed into Canadian law November, 1977.

The negotiations were initiated by the announcement of the James Bay Project by the Quebec premier in November, 1971. It was to be the largest hydroelectric project ever built by the largest hydroelectric company in the world, government-owned Hydro-Quebec. The project utilizes the unique water resources of northern Quebec, equivalent to one-third of the hydroelectric water resources of the continent. Several rivers are involved in the 12-year construction project: the Upper Caniapiscau, La Grande, Eastmain, and Opinaca. Three rivers are being damned and diverted into the La Grande. It is estimated now that the project will cost $20 billion -- perhaps $30 billion. It would be roughly equivalent to damning the Susitna River and diverting it through the Alaska Range to join the Tanana River which would then be damned and diverted at several points to join the Yukon at some new location.

The project was planned and initiated without a single public hearing or environmental impact statement filed. At least 4,000 square miles (2.56 million acres) will be flooded, much of it highly-productive river-bottom land which Cree trappers and Inuit hunters depend upon for subsistence. The Crees still live in the bush to a large measure. The Natives considered this a major assault on their whole land base and culture. The Inuit to the north became involved because of their interest in the Caniapiscau River.

Under the leadership of Chief Billy Diamond of the Crees and Charlie Watt, an Inuk of Fort Chime, the Native groups brought suit against the government and developers on many fronts. In an historic judgment by Superior Court Justice Albert Malouf in Quebec in November, 1973, the Natives were upheld and an injunction was brought against the project, stopping all further construction until the Native claims were settled. The injunction was overturned one week later by the Appeals Court of Quebec on a "balance of convenience" argument that said greater damage would be done the people of Quebec by stopping the project -- but the case was yet to be heard in court and dragged on another year.

Meanwhile, because of the strong impact of the Malouf judgment, the developers and government saw the need to negotiate a settlement with the Natives outside court. Discussions began in the Spring of 1974 and covered a wide range of Native issues. In November of that year, negotiations culminated in the "Agreement in Principle," an agreement to agree, in which a complete package consisting of eight areas of concern were outlined and which the parties gave themselves 12 months to settle.


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