Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 109

109 Arctic Yearbook 2015 Protection of hunting rights Hunting traditions’ core position in the dominating collective identity narrative has especially been articulated on the international level where the protection of the rights to sealing and whaling have been challenged by external decisions that limit the export of seal products and restrict Greenland’s quota on large whales. Both cases took their beginning shortly after the introduction of selfgovernment when Greenland proposed a quota of ten humpback whales – which until then only had been allowed for St. Vincent and the Grenadines to catch – and when the EU introduced a ban on import of seal products that, however, contained a so-called ‘Inuit exception’ (EU 2009). Despite the special exception, it is argued that the ban has still had grave consequences to Greenland’s export of seal products as it decreased from DKK 60 million in 2006 to DKK 6 million in 2012 (Sommer 2012) and when the exception was overruled by WTO in 2013 – and upheld in May 2014 – the Greenlandic seal hunters’ outlook only got gloomier. Contrary to this development, the dispute with IWC has so far resulted in a positive outcome for Greenland as the wish for a higher quota on large whales was fulfilled in September 2014. On the way to these two different outcomes, the communication regarding the two cases have had some central elements in common, namely: a sharply articulated dichotomy between Us and Them, a definition of the external decisions as being threats to Greenland’s societal security and an oscillation between ascribing ether the subject position ‘indigenous minority’ or ‘equal partner’ to the Greenlanders. Furthermore, they have both been highlighted in Naalakkersuisut’s annual foreign policy reports and described by former Premier Hammond as “[...] crucial cases for the future of Greenland” (Andersen 2014. Author’s translation). The primary antagonistic Other in both cases has been the EU and the European members of IWC. Already before the EU ban on import of seal products came into force it was characterised by Jonathan Motzfeldt from Siumut as “[…] a cultural genocide, like the one they have committed in South America […]” (Holm 2009. Author’s translation) and the purpose of the ban was interpreted as “[…] to prevent the Arctic people from surviving in their own way by eating seals and whales and birds” (ibid.). This was an unambiguous securitisation of the traditional way of living that – through its central position in the dominating collective identity narrative – can be identified as a matter of societal security threatened by the EU. The same pattern has been visible in the IWC dispute, which peaked in 2013 after Greenland decided to unilaterally raise its quota on humpback whales, and Denmark, thus, considered leaving IWC where it represents Greenland. In response to this consideration, then Minister for Fishing, Hunting and Agriculture, Karl Lyberth, retorted with a feature article entitled ‘The Danes should not decide how we should live and eat’ (Org.: ‘Danskerne bør ikke bestemme hvordan vi skal leve og spise’). Here he made a clear distinction between the Europeans who “[…] go to the supermarket and buy pre-packed meat of farmed animals butchered by others” (Lyberth 2013. Author’s translation) in contrast to “Here in Greenland, we go into the wild to catch our food and we are therefore responsible for our own food supply” (ibid.). Ultimately, Lyberth made it clear that the decision of unilaterally raising Greenland’s whaling quota was taken “[…] to protect our people’s way of living” (ibid.). The reason for why Greenland should have these extraordinary rights is explained by historic traditions and cultural importance that both the EU and IWC themselves perceive as legitimate Jacobsen