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
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