Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 565

565 Arctic Yearbook 2014 also a significant impact for indigenous governance exerted by this devolutionary process. The new devolution act in the Northwest Territories, for example, does away with local land and water boards negotiated as part of the land claims agreements. The Devolution Act combines all boards into a single land and water board, made up of members from across the territory. The rationale is ‘regulatory simplification’, and was first articulated by McCrank in 2008. Devolution and the deregulation is thus consistent with what could be termed a new neoliberal approach to Northern economic development, brought to bear by the current Harper Government. This agenda builds upon what the federal government calls its “Northern Strategy”, introduced in 2007. The goals of this strategy were articulated in 2009, in Canada's Northern Strategy: Our North, Our Heritage, Our Future. Cornerstone pieces of this agenda also include the Economic Action Plan, and the 2010 Northern Jobs and Growth Act. The latter impacts upon the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act and the Northwest Territories Surface Rights Board Act, along with amendments related to the Yukon Surface Rights Board Act. While the intent of the Northern Jobs and Growth Act is partly to meet the Government of Canada’s outstanding legislative obligations under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and the Gwich’in and Sahtu Land Claim Agreements, it also is very invested in streamlining and improving regulatory processes in the North – and is therefore very much an outcome of projects such as the McCrank Report of 2008. Conclusions If we return to our original framework – looking at this process of development and devolution from a ‘Canadian Studies’ perspective, what results is a web of development discourses and initiatives which are not easily reduced to a single framework of analysis. Development agendas which create new relationships between citizens, states, corporations, environment and resources, and responding to a social agenda which increasingly legitimizes and calls for strengthened indigenous involvement and self-determination. Canada’s Arctic is now looking very much like many other ‘underdeveloped’ regions – that is to say communities undergoing considerable developmental pressure while being caught up in a development agenda directed from distant capitals. Still, the development agenda is intersected by a rising indigenous rights agenda, strong new voices from a multitude of local, regional and global lobby and stakeholder groups. It is in this context that we return to the idea of ‘sovereignty’. Indeed it the latter, ‘sovereignty’, which tends to occupy the Canadian Studies literature (Byers 2010; Huebert 2010; Coates et al. 2008) focus on the north more substantively than ‘economic development’. Partly, this is because the legacy of Canadian Studies itself has linked political economy to state, and has either romanticized or villainized resource extraction industries, depending upon whether state or indigenous interests are described. Berger’s inquiry, for example, seemed to suggest to many that economic development was not in the interests of indigenous peoples and northerners, and therefore all development was bad, although this is not exactly what Berger said. This essentialization and polarization of the two perspectives has left interest in mapping the less exciting, but more important, minutia of the landscape of development to fewer scholars, like Campbell (1996), Fenge and Hason (2011), Robidoux (2004), Bone (2012), DiFrancesco (2000), Petrov (2010; 2013), or indigenous writers whose work is less accessed by mainstream academia. It also competes with larger nation-building narratives and state agency, particularly in terms of the state’s colonial legacy – and it is the latter of these that we have found particularly compelling Economic Development, Indigenous Governance, & Arctic Sovereignty