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When the former Danish colony Greenland obtained Home Rule in 1979, becoming an autonomous region within the Danish Realm, it faced the challenge of having to establish a comprehensive social welfare system. This article looks at disability care and its interrelations with post-colonialism and national identity formation, as previous practices of medical care and accommodation in Danish institutions were replaced with local solutions. Frame analysis reveals the outlines of the responsibilities of Danish experts for disabled Greenlanders under colonial rule and during the modernization period until 1979. The transition phase of the early 1980s was a central arena for Greenlandic national discourse wherein care responsibilities in welfare policies, disability care institutions, advocacy organizations and the media were framed and renegotiated. The ‘Greenlandization’ of disability care and the respective shift in responsibilities was a highly uneven process that continued to be suffused with Danish norms and practices.

Open Access
In: European Journal for the History of Medicine and Health