Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 229

229 Arctic Yearbook 2014 its semi-independent status as a region of Denmark into a fully functioning independent state. However, the rate at which development has taken place has caused internal strife. The 2013 decision by the Inatsisartut, Greenland’s parliament to lift the ban on uranium extraction further exacerbated tensions arising from the paradox of development with the potential for increased largescale development. Large-scale development could lead to independence through economic freedom. In contrast, opponents of unbridled development have cited preservation of cultural traditions, the paramount dilemma of climate change and a construction of nation building that may be anathema to traditional Inuit hunting and fishing practices, as reason to advance with caution. Indeed, the paradoxical conditions of development need consider not only economic freedom, but must also address political freedoms in the form of public debate. Simply, how do the Greenlandic people at large envision their society in the future? This debate takes on a heightened significance given that 89 percent of the population is of Inuit origin (CIA). The value of political and economic freedom is not in dispute. But who are the beneficiaries? How will government balance the interests of pro-development Greenlanders promoting the attributes of foreign investment with the interests of the greater Greenlandic citizenry? Economic freedom on a national scale does not necessarily equate to distributed social opportunity, nor does it ensure that the democratic value of public participation is sufficiently incorporated into the decision-making process. For this reason community participation, based on the values of transparency, freedom of speech, and accessibility to accurate and lucid information must be addressed as a factor of democratic state-building. Home Rule, Elites and a Desire for Independence On May 1st, 1979, when the Greenland Home Rule Government first met in Nuuk, the occasion was seen as a collective victory across the pan-Arctic Inuit community. The success attained by Greenlandic Inuit represented the collective aspiration of Inuit everywhere in that the