Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 75

75 Arctic Yearbook 2015 The regional institutional development of the Northwest Territories (NWT) is illustrative of the processes of regionalization in Canada; the Territory saw some of the earliest movement towards land claims (with the Inuvialuit), while later entrants into the process (the Tlicho) emerge with very different results. Regionalization in the NWT also clearly highlights the degree to which the Canadian model emphasizes identity in the development of regional governance. The implications of timing, identity, and institutional layering on regional models will be further explored in the next section. Layered authority & ad hoc institutional development Indigenous regional governance in the North American Arctic has not moved evenly in the direction of strong regional models. In the absence of Indigenous regional self-government, each one of the four regions of interest—the Northwest and North Slope regions in Alaska, and the Gwich’in and Inuvialuit Regions of the Northwest Territories—highlight important intra-jurisdictional tensions brought about by the timing and form of institutional development. Each case has exhibited the combination of (1) institutions undergoing functional conversion, whereby actors harness the abilities of existing organizations to meet new ends; and (2) institutional layering, adding on new institutions to fill in policy gaps (Thelen 2000). Moreover, these cases can be used to expand our understanding of how conversion and layering interact with a third important factor, institutional identity. Alaska: Timing and institutional development – implications for policy scope The regions created through ANCSA have not uniformly advanced towards regionalization. Broadly speaking, the regional corporations are weak units of governance. Moreover, they occupy a fraught location in the politics of Alaska. The Native Corporations were designed as self-contained institutions, divorced from Native tribal governance; they were conceived as tools to integrate Native Alaskans into the modern market economy, rather than to act as a bridge between traditional practices and the modern economy (Berardi 2005). Given this complicated relationship, Native Alaskans did not want to build upon the NRCs as they worked towards developing further institutions of governance (McBeath & Morehouse 1980). Instead, as the relationship between the federal government and Native Alaskans evolved, local tribal governance (at the village level) gained renewed support. In the 1990s, the federal government reaffirmed its nation-to-nation relationship with Alaska Natives, which for Alaska meant the recognition of 229 village tribal governments. Co-management institutions and subsistence policy were layered on top of these tribal governments and focused on the participation tribal organizations, thus securing local governance over regional governance as the model for Alaska. Though the nonprofit Native associations generally act as regional coordinating bodies for tribal governments (in most of the twelve regions of Alaska), taking these developments and ANCSA at face value, it is fair to suggest that Alaska has evolved weak regional governance and strong local governance. The North Slope and Northwest regions of Alaska, however, stand apart. In northern Alaska, two geographically large regional Alaska Native Corporations were created following the passage of ANCSA in 1971: the NANA Corporation in the Northwest and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ARSC) in Alaska’s North Slope region. There are two notable factors particular to the space in which these institutions were created. Firstly, the corporate boundaries Davidson