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Has the Creation of Nunavut Come too Quickly?

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Has the Creation of Nunavut Come too Quickly?

The North of Canada may invoke thoughts of polar bears, penguins, and Eskimos, however this region has a history of exploitation. Since the 1940's, the Inuit people (Eskimo is considered a derogatory term by locals) have been forced to assimilate to Canadian laws and language. Prior to the arrival of the Canadian officials and their economic and law systems and infrastructures, the Inuit lived in small groups off the tundra. Their economic system was one of trade and they spoke Inuktitut, which was only an oral language until about fifty years ago.

Yet, this way of life was altered drastically with the increasing presence of the Canadian government in the region. In the early 1900's the government of Canada began to take notice of the increasingly heavy flow of foreign ships in the arctic waters. It was not the presence of the ships the Canadian government were concerned with, but rather the revenue they were losing (Matthiasson, 36). To overcome this problem, Canada loosely asserted its sovereignty over the region more for economic reasons than anything else. Even then, the Inuit people continued to live the way they always had in spite of the Canadian laws they were supposedly constrained by now. Forty years later, Canada's sovereignty in the Northwest Territories was threatened again, but this time politically by the United States in 1946. Canadian officials were informed that the United States was planning to construct several weather stations in the High Arctic Islands. These stations were intended to collect climatic information as well as serve as a defense measure against possible Soviet attack (Marcus, 54). Nervous about the loss of the territory, the Canad...

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...d job creation to the infant government. Without economic sustainability, Nunavut will continue to be one of the poorest regions in Canada. If this is the case in future years, the language nor the traditions have much chance of surviving.

Works Cited

Brown, DeNeen L. "Culture Corrosion in Canada's North; Forced Into the Modern World, Indigenous Inuit Struggle to Cope." The Washington Post 16 July 2001, page A01.

Marcus, Alan Rudolph. Relocating Eden: The Image and Politics of Inuit Exile in the Canadian Arctic. Hanover, Dartmouth College Press, 1995, page 54.

Matthiasson, John S. Living on the Land: Change Among the Inuit of Baffin Island. Ontario, Broadview Press, 1992, pages 35-37.

Nunavut: The Story of Canada's Inuit People. Mapleleafweb Online. 2 March 2002.

< www.mapleleafweb.com/features/nunavut/government.html>.
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