Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 108

108 Arctic Yearbook 2015 protection of indigenous peoples’ rights and identity” (Naalakkersuisut 2013a: 24. Authors’ translation), as they are still threatened by “[d]iscriminatory legislation, dominant cultural majorities and lack of recognition” (ibid.). Whether this also concerns the Greenlandic language is not crystal clear from the information publicly available, but the adoption of an official language policy underlines that: “The Greenlandic language is a central part of the Greenlandic people’s cultural identity. The language has a culture-bearing function that shall be preserved, strengthened and simultaneously developed” (EM2009/88:1. Author’s translation). This mirrors Greenland’s special position within the international indigenous network, well exemplified by Kuupik Kleist’s speech at the EMRIP annual meeting in 2009 where he emphasised that the introduction of self-government is a “[…] de facto implementation of the declaration of indigenous peoples’ rights” (Naalakkersuisut 2010: 22. Author’s translation) and that “[…] the experiences of Greenland’s process can serve as inspiration for others of the world’s indigenous peoples in their struggle for greater autonomy and in their development as a people” (ibid.: 23). Such a statement indirectly excludes people who are not indigenous but still perceive themselves as part of the Greenland nation and, thus, the statement represents a static or more ethno national perception of what it means to have a true Greenlandic identity. The positioning of Greenlanders as a minority in these forums is furthermore a relic from the past when Greenland did not have self-government and is as such more retrospective than prospective. The communication made under the auspices of Nordic Council is contrary to the communication in the UN forums, as ‘equality’ and ‘independence’ rather than ‘minority’ are the subject positions used to portray Greenlanders desirable position. In 2006, the Nordic Council adopted a declaration on Nordic language policy, which distinguishes between ‘community bearing’ languages - consisting of Faroese, Greenlandic, Sami, Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish - and ‘state bearing’ languages that leave out the first three (Norden 2006: 11). Thus, there is a clear hierarchical line, which would have been more likely to be accepted if the non-state entities’ underlying logic was based on indigenous peoples’ rights and the subject position ascribed to their citizens was ‘minority’. By observing the statements made concerning the status of the Greenlandic language (cf. Jacobsen 2014: 39-41), it is, however, evident that this is definitely not the case. Instead, Greenland’s representatives plead for a position equivalent to the official states’ and a discontent over the lower status of the Greenlandic language has often been used for raising questions over Greenland’s general lower position in the Nordic Council hierarchy. As a result of this persistent engagement then Premier Aleqa Hammond was invited to join the Prime Ministers’ annual summer meeting in 2014 (Sommer 2014). This was a clear indication of higher status, a step towards the announced vision of future full membership (Nordisk Råd 2013) and in line with Greenland’s foreign policy strategy from 2011 which describes direct participation in the Nordic Council as important because it “[…] can generate results that support the general foreign policy work” (Naalakkersuisut 2011: 21. Author’s translation). An important fact for this successful development was the establishment of a strategic partnership with Åland and the Faroese Islands in 2012 that gives the three autonomous areas the authority to speak on behalf of each other (lagtinget.aland.fi); a partnership, which a Naalakkersuisut foreign policy report described as “a pivotal development of Greenland’s foreign relations” (Naalakkersuisut 2013a: 12 – author’s translation). The Power of Collective Identity Narration