Increasing contacts made by Western and Russian travellers with the populations of the Arctic eventually led to an upheaval in their organization. Whether it occurred gradually or abruptly sedentarization came hand-in-hand with westernization or russification of ways of life. However, the end of the 20th Century saw claims emerging from the most numerous and best organized Arctic communities to assert their rights to control over the running of their territory.
Creation of Nunavut
The strongest process of land claims in the history of Canada led to the creation of Nunavut in 1999. It is a new territory conceived as the homeland of a large proportion of the Inuit of Canada. Indeed its name means “our land”. Besides this move, measures to meet Inuit people’s claims in the Nunavik region in Quebec’s Arctic to the north, led the Quebec government to found the Kativik Regional Government under the terms of the 1975 James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.
The Sami Parliament
In Sweden, Norway and Finland (but not in Russia) the Sami have the right to vote in the Sami Parliament, an especially designated authority. It is a democratically elected parliament with a governmental role.
Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North
The Small-numbered peoples of the North of Russia suffered greatly from the sovietization of Siberia in the ex-USSR: exploitation of natural resources causing damage to the integrity of their lands and installation of gulags. Nowadays, the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) is working to unify 30 indigenous minorities with the aim of presenting a united voice before the Russian Federal Government in Moscow.