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Unfreezing the ArcticScience, Colonialism, and the Transformation of Inuit Lands$
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Andrew Stuhl

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226416649

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226416786.001.0001

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Disturbed: The Impacts of a Postcolonial Moment

Disturbed: The Impacts of a Postcolonial Moment

(p.111) Chapter Five Disturbed: The Impacts of a Postcolonial Moment
Unfreezing the Arctic

Andrew Stuhl

University of Chicago Press

This chapter identifies land claim agreements in Alaska in 1971 and the western Canadian Arctic in 1984 as the culmination of a century of environmental transformation and colonial intervention. These agreements are placed in the overlapping contexts of the elaboration of the petroleum economy, the emergence of ecosystem ecology, and implementation of environmental impact assessment policies. It is argued that notions of a disturbed Arctic linked activist environmental scientists and Inuit political organizers as both parties grew concerned over the impacts of oil and gas exploration on the tundra. The analysis traces relations among these parties in Alaska from Project Chariot to the inaugural Inupiat Paitot meeting to the near simultaneous discussions of the Trans Alaska Pipeline Inquiry and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. It links these episodes with their counterparts in the western Canadian Arctic, including the Coppermine Conference, the formation of the Committee for Original People’s Entitlement, the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry, and the Inuvialuit Final Agreement in 1984. The chapter ends by discussing the differences and connections between the North Slope of Alaska and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region as regards the role of science in environmental decision making structures enshrined by land claim agreements.

Keywords:   ecosystem ecology, environmental impact assessment, Project Chariot, trans Alaska pipeline inquiry, Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, Committee for Original Peoples Entitlement, Mackenzie valley pipeline inquiry, Inuvialuit settlement region, Inuvialuit final agreement, oil and gas

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