Once states have defined who can access land resources and what kinds of usage such access might entail, a circular dynamic is formed whereby categories of people (and even historically well-defined groups) aspire to be “recognized” according to these legal criteria. This circular dynamic builds up pressure as climate change, for example, pushes the agricultural line northward, as populations thereby shift, as winter reindeer pastures become increasingly “locked” by the fluctuations of temperatures, and traditional ways of living must be abandoned. While the concept of “indigenous people” has come on the one hand to imply certain rights according to international covenants, on the other hand it has come to mean different things in different countries and to be associated with a wide variety of accompanying national land use regulations. Even the size of a defined ethnic group can be of significance with respect to resource use rights, as in Russia where placement of peoples on the list of the so-called “small peoples of the North” holds great significance for their land rights and development, but might also thereby come to disqualify them from membership in a larger group with certain rights of political autonomy.
Most significantly, RCC discourse, not simply RCC itself, impacts on indigenous resource use and ethnicity. We can consider at least three other well-established major discourses: 1) indigenous resource control and ethnic mobilization, 2) environmentalism, often with global roots and funding, 3) heavy industrial resource extraction either condoned by government or run by it at various levels. The permutations of alliance formations have often been volatile, as the relative powers of these discourses wax and wane. In comparison to these discourses, awareness of RCC has been sudden and by its nature globally compelling. Not only will RCC itself alter the physical living situation of northern indigenous peoples, but its power as discourse will undoubtedly integrate in various ways with the delicate alliances and contentions which constantly develop among the three major discourses noted above. Can we discern path-dependant patterns of ethnic mobilization as resource pressures increase causing further rationalization of livelihoods?
The CLUE initiative is endorsed by the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation (RAIPON). Through its educational outreach component, CLUE will train local indigenous students and incorporate them into the research program in a manner of mutual benefit. This research will give “voice” to indigenous concerns and serve to facilitate communications between different levels of decision making. CLUE will have practical import for the resource use of local northern residents and our grasp of its dynamics.
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Saturday, 30 December 2006 10:09
CLUE: Dynamics of Circumpolar Land Use and EthnicityWritten by Administrator
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