Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 82

82 Arctic Yearbook 2015 had fewer barriers to institutional layering (and thus the development of stronger regions with ad hoc authority) than more heterogeneous regions. This helps to explain both the emergence of strong regional models in the Iñupiat-inhabited northern regions of Alaska, and sheds light on the decision of the Sahtu region to explore community self-government. It is also an important intervening factor in understanding why the combined Gwich’in-Inuvialuit regional government did not advance as a successful model. Both timing and identity have structured how institutions have layered on top of one another to create strong models of regional governance in the north. Unpacking ad hoc regional Indigenous authority is key to understanding one of the primary mechanisms through which local Indigenous populations interact with Arctic policy. Though some cases see the promise of more ‘concrete’ regional self-government, other regions will continue to operate in more dynamic models. By focusing on these ad hoc models, we have a better understanding of the ways in which Indigenous organizations have transformed their operations to expand into new policy areas. As such, we have a better understanding of the existing regional capacity and the opportunities for building partnerships with other levels of governance. For example, as the Arctic Council continues to tackle the challenges that come with coordinating Arctic search and rescue, the resources and experiences of Alaska’s northern borough governments—which have been conducting policy and service delivery in this area for over thirty years—may provide some important lessons. Meanwhile, northern Indigenous governments in the Canadian north can tap into resources and knowledge from other regions that have faced (or are facing) similar population, infrastructure, and fiscal challenges. This exploration presents a starting point for understanding both how new regional organizations interact intra-jurisdictionally and inter-regionally across new regional borders. Ultimately, despite the many barriers to their creation, these regions are poised to carve out an even greater role in territorial and international Arctic development. Acknowledgments This article was originally presented at the Canadian Politics & Public Policy Graduate Symposium on May 27, 2015. The author wishes to thank Sara Hughes for her insightful comments and direction on the paper, and Graham White, Grace Skogstad, and Robert Schertzer for their feedback on earlier drafts of this article. Financial support for this research was provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto, and the Northern Scientific Training Program. Notes 1. The classical definition of regionalism, developed by Michael Keating and John Loughlin, defines regionalism as pressure from a region (by regional political elites) towards the central government demanding more (cultural) autonomy, social priorities, democratization, and decentralization. The processes explored in this paper do not always fit neatly under this definition, as the definition presumes that region is largely pre-defined. The process of land claims—whereby regional Indigenous elites place pressure on the central government to Regional Governance Without Self-Government