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Co-management as a Foundation of Arctic Exceptionalism: Strengthening the Bonds between the Indigenous and Westphalian Worlds

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online
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Barry Scott Zellen
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Abstract

Successful collaboration between the Indigenous peoples and the sovereign states of Arctic North America has helped to stabilize the Arctic region, fostering meaningful Indigenous participation in the governance of their homeland through the introduction of new institutions of self-governance at the municipal, tribal and territorial levels, and successful diplomatic collaborations at the international level through the Arctic Council. Undergirding each of these pillars of Indigenous participation in Arctic governance is a mutuality of commitment to the principle of co-management of the Arctic that has united Indigenous peoples and the state across Arctic North America. Co-management has become so widely and reciprocally embraced by tribal peoples and states alike that it now provides a stable foundation bridging the Indigenous, transnational world with the Westphalian world of states and statecraft. This stability and the reciprocal and over time increasingly balanced relationship between sovereign states and Indigenous stakeholders has yielded a widely recognized spirit of international collaboration often referred to as Arctic exceptionalism. Along the way, co-management has transformed into both a mechanism of, and powerful paradigm for, trans-Arctic diplomacy that fosters not only greater domestic unity between tribe and state, but between states as well, catapulting mechanisms designed for domestic resource management to the international stage. Arctic exceptionalism has come under recent strain from the renewal of great power competition in the Arctic. As Arctic competition between states rises, the multitude of co-management systems and the multi-level, inter-governmental and inter-organizational relationships they have nurtured across the region can help to neutralize new threats from intensifying inter-state tensions.

Abstract

Successful collaboration between the Indigenous peoples and the sovereign states of Arctic North America has helped to stabilize the Arctic region, fostering meaningful Indigenous participation in the governance of their homeland through the introduction of new institutions of self-governance at the municipal, tribal and territorial levels, and successful diplomatic collaborations at the international level through the Arctic Council. Undergirding each of these pillars of Indigenous participation in Arctic governance is a mutuality of commitment to the principle of co-management of the Arctic that has united Indigenous peoples and the state across Arctic North America. Co-management has become so widely and reciprocally embraced by tribal peoples and states alike that it now provides a stable foundation bridging the Indigenous, transnational world with the Westphalian world of states and statecraft. This stability and the reciprocal and over time increasingly balanced relationship between sovereign states and Indigenous stakeholders has yielded a widely recognized spirit of international collaboration often referred to as Arctic exceptionalism. Along the way, co-management has transformed into both a mechanism of, and powerful paradigm for, trans-Arctic diplomacy that fosters not only greater domestic unity between tribe and state, but between states as well, catapulting mechanisms designed for domestic resource management to the international stage. Arctic exceptionalism has come under recent strain from the renewal of great power competition in the Arctic. As Arctic competition between states rises, the multitude of co-management systems and the multi-level, inter-governmental and inter-organizational relationships they have nurtured across the region can help to neutralize new threats from intensifying inter-state tensions.

1 Introduction

Successful collaboration between the Indigenous peoples and the sovereign states of Arctic North America has helped to stabilize the Arctic region, fostering meaningful Indigenous participation in Arctic governance through the introduction of new institutions of self-governance at the municipal, tribal and territorial levels, and successful diplomatic collaborations at the international level through the Arctic Council and other international fora. Undergirding each of these pillars of Indigenous participation in Arctic governance is a mutuality of commitment to the principle of collaborative Arctic governance that has united Indigenous peoples and the state across Arctic North America through their shared experience of post-land claims settlement co-management of lands and resources, from the Bering Strait to Baffin Bay. Indeed, co-management has become so widely and reciprocally embraced by tribal peoples and states alike that it now presents us with a viable and scalable foundation for bridging the Indigenous, transnational world with the Westphalian world of states and statecraft across the entirety of the circumpolar Arctic, by strengthening the bonds between the two forged through their joint governing experience at the domestic level, which in turn informs and inspires the relationship between the eight founding member states of the Arctic Council and the six Permanent Participant organizations representing the Indigenous peoples of the Arctic.

The stability, and over time increasingly reciprocal institutional and intergovernmental relationships between sovereign states and Indigenous stakeholders at the domestic level, has contributed increasingly to a shared spirit of international collaboration often referred to as Arctic exceptionalism, embedding it on multiple levels of governance, from the local and tribal to the regional and territorial all the way to the national and international level. These institutions are increasingly reflected in a growing and important literature on the influence of nonstate actors, primarily Indigenous organizations and self-governing institutions, but other actors are included such as NGOs and subnational governments, illuminating the underlying complexity of the Arctic domestic and international political system, and informing comparative studies of Indigenous-state relations across the regions.1 There is also a subset of the substate/nonstate literature that looks specifically at institutions and mechanisms of co-management, which brings together the competing stakeholders and their divisions along the cooperation/conflict, homeland/frontier, and sovereignty/security continua that traditional divide the field of Arctic international relations.2 There has also emerged in recent years a substantial and growing body of works on the Arctic Council which provides much detailed insight and understanding to the cooperative mechanisms and outcomes of Arctic diplomacy that is largely separate from the literature on co-management, the latter which is traditionally viewed through the lens of domestic governance and the historic reconciliation between natives and states in the Arctic.3

This chapter will weave together ideas drawn from these two distinct lenses or traditions in the literature, one conceptualizing Indigenous Arctic governance as primarily a domestic process, and the other that conceptualizes international Arctic cooperation and Indigenous-state relations as an international and diplomatic process, in an effort at uniting them through their mutual recognition of Indigenous peoples’ organizations (IPOs) as key actors that have strengthened the constitutional bonds linking local, regional and national governments while at the same time strengthening the diplomatic bonds between Arctic states through their transnational dynamics, and this dual-strengthening of the collaborative underpinnings of both domestic and international orders explains the recurrence and endurance of Arctic exceptionalism as a defining attribute of the Arctic with deep historic roots that predate the formation of the Arctic Council in 1996. This is because Arctic Indigenous peoples, as cross border and transnational communities, exist simultaneously in both domestic and international political contexts – experiencing multiple levels of analysis at once – and what may look to be a structural ambiguity is actually a powerful duality that harmonizes insights from and experiences at the domestic and international levels.4

My ongoing research in Arctic IR theory has sought to contextualize and integrate this entire range of analytical levels, from the local, Indigenous and regional to the national and global; but rather than surrender to the temptation of complexity theory which accepts but does not resolve many of these important ambiguities inherent in the triangular relationship between domestic, international and transnational entities, I look at commonalities in their interconnections and interactions, as part of an effort to determine how domestic structures, when examined granularly down to the village level, assert (in their aggregate) an ordering tendency on international relations in the Arctic. Complexity thus does not yield to chaos, but instead unearths a deeper understanding of the underlying Arctic order – its history, its institutional development, and its many debates, fault lines, and axes of conflict – revealing not just the flow of ideas across the Arctic in both temporal and spatial dimensions,5 but salient and influential ordering patterns that influence higher levels of governance, starting with the local and tribal, on up to the regional, territorial, state, and international levels.

The normative condition of Arctic exceptionalism is thus not just wishful thinking by one school of thought on one side of an idealist/realist or cooperation/conflict continuum, but a pattern of recurrent behavior that is rooted, structurally, in the progressive reforms of native empowerment that start at the village level, and which are amplified over time as those reforms increasingly reshape policies and strategies at higher levels. So the resolution of Arctic land claims, which started in Alaska in 1971, and largely percolated eastward along the Arctic coast (with the one exception being northern Quebec, which supervened Alaska under the immense pressure of hydroelectric development in Quebec during the early-to-mid 1970s), in turn inspired greater representation of native interests in territorial and state governance, while at the same time aligned with transnational paradiplomatic efforts on the global level, which in turn found partners in international diplomacy at the highest levels of state, which in turn would create a culture of cooperation and collaboration in Arctic international relations that survived numerous international conflicts that in other regions resulted in a preponderance of conflict.

Arctic exceptionalism has come under relatively new threats from a recent renewal of great power competition in the Arctic, as reflected in updated and revised strategic policies of numerous states with Arctic interests or aspirations that assert a more nationalist perspective in contrast to prior decades of mutual commitment to Arctic collaboration. As Arctic competition between states rises, the author believes the multitude of co-management systems and the multi-level, inter-governmental and inter-organizational relationships they have nurtured across the region that began as mechanisms for joint resource management at the local and regional domestic levels between Indigenous peoples and the state can help to neutralize the new threats to Arctic exceptionalism posed by intensifying inter-state tensions by injecting into political discourses at the international level a steady collaborative counternarrative largely insulated from new inter-state pressures. This is because localized co-management has itself evolved into both a mechanism of, and powerful paradigm for, trans-Arctic diplomacy that fosters not only greater domestic unity between tribe and state, but between states as well, catapulting mechanisms designed for domestic resource management to the international stage – as illustrated in the research on Inuit transnationalism by Jessica Shadian, among others – who began with transnational cooperation at the substate level in the 1970s and evolved increasingly from substate to international actor, leveraging the theoretical ambiguity presented by the duality of their domestic Westphalian and transnational existence.6

Amidst this evolution from the domestic to the international stage, Inuit leaders brought their insights and experiences from co-managing their homelands with their respective sovereigns to global politics – and one might argue that the structure established by the formation of the Arctic Council in 1996 borrows from the domestic co-management experience the unique and successful roles and responsibilities of the Permanent Participants of the Council, which are the regional Indigenous organizations newly empowered at the domestic level in Arctic North America (if not universally in other regions of the Arctic) – which like their domestic co-management counterparts lack decision-making power but gain access, influence, and importantly, a prominent seat at the table with their sovereign counterparts (the eight full members of the Council, representing its eight founding sovereign states), a compromise that both satisfies the sovereign members of the Council while meeting the needs and aspirations of the Permanent Participants well despite the asymmetry in formal power. This asymmetry in power and formal influence has been acceptable to Arctic IPOs in large measure because it has worked so well at the domestic level through decades of co-management implementation, which are equally asymmetrical in power and formal influence – but which have allowed for significant informal influence, moral suasion, and effectiveness that offsets the asymmetry in formal power.

2 Domestic Foundations of Arctic Exceptionalism

Largely as a result of Indigenous political foresight and perseverance – from the municipal level all the way up to the international level through diplomatic bodies such as the United Nations and more regionally-focused like the Arctic Council – a solid foundation for Arctic exceptionalism has been established, buffering the region from contending influences such as renewed nationalism and state rivalry, preserving regional order even as states face off against one another in an increasingly contested Arctic.

It was the historic 1971 passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) – the pioneering land treaty transferring 44 million acres of land title and one billion dollars in compensation to Alaska Indigenous peoples – that established the foundation stone for the emergent system of co-management and collaboration across Arctic North America, a model embraced while being greatly enhanced as Inuit land claims built upon ANCSA’s foundation in the Canadian Arctic, strengthening it by enhancing the breadth and diversity of collaborative structures while retaining the system of Indigenous village and regional corporations that defined ANCSA, with Inuit land corporations gaining title to nearly one-tenth of their traditional land base much the way the regional corporations did in Alaska, and with new co-management structures increasingly enabling Indigenous participation in resource management and in environmental screening and review processes.

What started with ANCSA at the start of the 1970s would continue to evolve and transform over the next half century, in both Alaska and across the international boundary in the Canadian Arctic, a process watched closely by Arctic Indigenous peoples in other regions as well as Indigenous peoples from elsewhere in the world. This dynamic, living, and evolutionary process is illustrated well by Alaska’s many post-ANCSA amendments designed to correct perceived flaws in the original land claims structure in Alaska (starting as early as 1976, with more to come in 1980, 1987 – the famous ‘1991 amendments’, 1995, and as recently as 2017) and in the subsistence provisions included in the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) designed in part to redress ANCSA’s omission of subsistence protection; as well as the 1993 federal recognition of Alaska’s Indigenous communities as tribes – the culmination of the 1980s’ tribal sovereignty movement that spread across village Alaska in reaction to ANCSA’s corporate focus – and in the years since, in the piecemeal, multilevel effort to align federal policy and tribal aspirations (amidst occasional resistance by the state of Alaska) that has played out across nearly half a century.

Across the border, the process of strengthening and rebalancing the new political economies inside land claims settlement areas has been less piecemeal and more iterative and cumulative, with land claims accords internally integrating these very same processes that were addressed ex post facto outside the land claims process in Alaska, making for a smoother and more elegant institutional process – albeit with numerous implementation challenges revealing the very same kinds of clashes between traditional/Indigenous and Westphalian/state values in both Canada and Alaska – as reflected in the structures of the 1984 Inuvialuit Final Agreement (agreed to in principle in 1978, seven years after ANCSA, two years after ANCSA’s first amendments, and two years before ANILCA); the 1993 Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (whose territorial secession, to form the Nunavut Territory, took place in 1999, but which continues to experience frictions between the Inuit of Nunavut and the federal government over two decades later); and the 2005 Labrador (Nunatsiavut) Inuit Land Claim, which opted for a more localized ethnic government rather than a public system, rejecting the Nunavut model owing to demographic and economic pressures from Newfoundland and its mining and fishing interests.7

What looks to be a raw and dissonant clash in the Hegelian tradition of separate and competing processes driven by separate branches of government and competing levels of analysis in Alaska appears to be a more unified synthesis in Canada. But all is not what it seems: the Canadian process achieves synthesis largely in the absence of large settler populations or powerful regional governments – in northern regions like Alaska with substantial non-Indigenous populations, like the Yukon, Newfoundland and the northern provinces, the very same, dissonant, dialectical clash has taken place and continues to recur. And even in regions of Indigenous demographic predominance, there has been resistance on implementation, insufficiency in training funds and support, and many other clashes between the Inuit and the Canadian federal government in Ottawa, which has at times appeared to be more of reluctant partner (especially with regard to Nunavut implementation when compared to the official enthusiasm that greeted its formation), and whose reluctance suggests perhaps some second thoughts in Ottawa on the extent of devolution in power achieved by the Inuit.

3 From Co-management to Collaborative Arctic Sovereignty: Transnationalism as a Bridge

Despite these bumps along the road to implementation, co-management offers no less important a path toward synthesis of these competing forces, with regional, largely internal ‘regimes’ balancing Indigenous and non-Indigenous interests. States continue to predominate in terms of material power but Indigenous peoples command demographic predominance in remote regions, becoming essential stakeholders in Arctic sovereignty. It is this fundamental demographic truth, and the minimal settler populations in the Canadian Arctic, that has ensured the progress continued, and that Inuit empowerment strengthened, even as Ottawa began to display a more conflicted view through its foot-dragging on implementation, and occasional assertions of a desire to streamline the highly localized patchwork of co-management regimes into something more industry (and federal government) friendly. Recent history presents numerous case studies that illustrate the increasing success of co-management as a paradigm for Arctic governance, and, perhaps paradoxically, increasing conflicts between the very unequal parties that co-management has structurally united.

While co-management has experienced its share of challenges, with federal foot-dragging on making appointments to co-management boards and funding programs to which Ottawa committed during land claims negotiations, and resistance to decisions driven by traditional over western knowledge systems, or cultural over economic/commercial values, these challenges and associated tensions are, in their own way, proof of co-management’s success – establishing a hybrid governing structure to mediate the many differences in values, aspirations and policies between tribes and states. Co-management structures, in addressing and attempting to find synthesis in the state-tribe dialectic, reflect a transformation in the concept of Arctic sovereignty as states increasingly root their sovereignty in the consent of Indigenous peoples, and as much as possible, align their interests with them (not unlike how HBC governed earlier in history, with its overlapping sovereign layers, devolving much autonomy to its Indigenous partners and proxies while maintaining an iron fist over its monopoly trading rights.) Modern states have been no different, with a steadfast desire to maintain its monopoly control over foreign and defense policy, and its economic supremacy, even while showing accommodation on other issues.

Much literature on Arctic land claims views the relatively recent wave of successful land claims negotiations in Arctic North America from 1971 to 2005 as the beginning of an Arctic modernization and globalization process, but history shows a longer integration of traditional northern economies and market economies with roots far outside the region. The formative legacy of this extensive history of economic collaboration tends to be understated, with ‘Oil Age Eskimos’ perceived to be a new phenomenon, and Inuit economic interactions with the global oil industry a fundamentally new era. Such a perception has been reinforced by the successful efforts of Indigenous rights activists and jurists like celebrated retired BC Supreme Court justice Thomas R. Berger, who galvanized interest in and support for traditional Indigenous values through public hearings and thought-provoking reports and books based on those hearings that warned of a sudden, historically transformative moment – starting in the 1970s with Berger’s Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry, which froze economic development in the Western Arctic until settled land claims could provide greater Indigenous participation in that development, and repeated during the Alaska Native Review Commission a decade later, and again two decades after that with his Conciliator’s Report on Nunavut Implementation, and then again a decade later when he helped to save the Peel River watershed from development efforts in the Yukon that bypassed the co-management processes established by the Yukon First Nations Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA).

A generation after Berger’s Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry effectively blocked resource development in the Western Arctic for a decade, the Mackenzie Gas Project (MGP) would hold a new round of consultations in the very same communities of the region starting in 2004, now with Indigenous groups sitting at both sides of the table, representing both the corporate stakeholders hoping to extract and transport natural gas up the Mackenzie River to southern markets (as one-third equity owners via the Aboriginal Pipeline Group) as well as the local communities grappling with the effects on traditional subsistence activities and the natural environment.8 The effort proved successful procedurally, and in 2011 the Mackenzie Valley pipeline was granted federal cabinet and National Energy Board approval. But by then gas prices had collapsed, and the economics of the pipeline were no longer attractive, so the victory was pyrrhic – the consultation process was now beyond doubt inclusive of Indigenous interests, as diverse as they were, but it had consumed so much time that the underlying market fundamentals had transformed before its favorable conclusion, ultimately dooming the project. But it remains no less illustrative of the tectonic shift in the Arctic’s political economy that had taken place since the first Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry in the 1970s, and the maturation of Indigenous participation in Arctic development.

It was the co-management table that provided the structural model for the Arctic Council where an observer state like China sits in the back of the room, while the six Indigenous Permanent Participant groups sit at the main table, next to the eight member states; though decisions reside with the sovereign, the informal influence of the Indigenous groups is near parity with the member states, and with close connections to their state counterparts, enduring policy alignments between the Indigenous groups and their host states augment the voice of the Permanent Participants even further. But at the working group level, funding disparities limit areas of Indigenous engagement, providing more space for observer states and NGOs to influence Arctic policy through their technical expertise. On the whole, however, at the co-management table, Arctic Indigenous peoples and states not only share the stage but increasingly unite their voice. Thierry Rodon and Aude Therrien describe the land claims process and the consequent institutional development of co-management boards for jointly governing Indigenous homelands as a complex governance arrangement necessitated by the demands for multilevel governance in the Arctic,9 and despite complaints from numerous political and business leaders on the resulting ‘Balkanization’ of decision-making in the post-land claims Arctic and ongoing efforts to streamline this process through regional integration, Indigenous leaders have to a large measure defended their gains and protected existing co-management structures, with their intensely localized geography, particularly in the ethnically diverse Northwest Territories and Yukon. In Nunavut, which is ethnically unified by its overwhelming Inuit majority population, concern is less with a Balkanized decision-making landscape of the sort that has emerged in the more western territories of the Canadian North and in Alaska, and more with the Government of Canada’s lackluster commitment to land claims implementation, and what Inuit perceived to be a half-hearted commitment to co-management in Ottawa. As a result, Arctic North America’s lands, waters and resources remain governed by a continent-wide patchwork of co-management boards that is, by its very nature, institutionally complex.10

This complexity is highlighted in Mark Nuttall’s insightful research on the co-management of Arctic oil and gas resources in Alaska and the Western Arctic,11 and Claudia Notzke’s pioneering research on resource co-management across Canada,12 which chronicles both the proliferation and increasing saliency of co-management as a governing principle for natural resource management, even in regions without settled land claims. Indeed, so well-suited is co-management to resource-rich frontier regions, it has been decoupled from the land claims process, finding its way into resource-rich parts of Canada’s settled southern provinces where competing claims to the land have precluded successful negotiation of land claims, becoming a salient micro-level of analysis independent of land claims settlement – as evident in the emergence of “strategic co-management” systems designed for “cooperative environmental management” of natural resource-rich area, yielding stand-alone co-management bodies in areas of southern Canada without settled land claims.13 Derek Armitage et al.’s 2011 study of co-management in the Canadian Arctic demonstrates how co-management provides a mechanism for both Indigenous peoples and governments to learn how to be adaptive amidst “uncertainty and environmental change,” and thus to benefit from social learning for developing adaptive capacity for resolving complex challenges collaboratively, resulting in new levels of knowledge co-production that successfully synthesize Indigenous and western approaches – introducing a “collaborative process [to bring] together a plurality of knowledge sources” that both reconciles asymmetries in power and overcomes the many complexities of multilevel governance.14

4 Transnationalism and Arctic Globalization: Harmonization of Indigenous and State Interests

Just as co-management strives to institutionalize the dynamic balancing of competing traditional and modern values, and of tribal and state powers, it can also help to establish a foundation for the diplomatic balancing of Arctic interests and non-Arctic interests alike. Indeed, it can serve not only as a metaphor, but an institutional foundation, for the management of the emergent state competition gathering steam in the Arctic. Derek Armitage et al.’s 2007 volume, Adaptive Co-Management: Collaboration, Learning and Multi-Level Governance,15 illustrates the globalization and universalization of co-management far beyond the Arctic region with case studies that include both northern examples of co-management (from Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) as might be expected, as well as case studies of co-management in places as diverse as Vancouver Island, Southern Ontario and Atlantic Canada in Canada’s southern provinces in addition to Wisconsin in the USA; Belize, Barbados, and Grenada in the Central America/Caribbean region; and Sweden in Europe. Indeed, co-management has truly gone global. Former Yukon Premier Tony Penikett has observed that Indigenous treaties in Canada are themselves “inherently international because natives are transnational,” even if governments in North America still view Indigenous peoples as “domesticated” components of their constitutional polities. To Penikett, land claims treaties and the many co-management structures they yielded are “remarkable nation-building achievements,” helping to offset earlier colonial-era treaties and the “historic failures of colonizing states to respect their treaty promises.”16

Looking to the future, as the polar thaw drives continuing Arctic globalization, and non-Arctic states show increasing interest in Arctic lands, waters and resources, the strategic center of mass for engaging in Arctic enterprises of all sorts will be the myriad co-management structures that define the post-land claims political topography of Arctic North America. Indeed, the Arctic Council emerged from the many structures of multi-level and multilateral co-management developed within the Arctic at the domestic level – between tribes, local governments, state and territorial governments, national governments, economic entities, and environmental actors, both within and across borders.

The Arctic Council, with its unique and evolving structure bringing Indigenous Permanent Participant groups and the founding member states together, joined by observers (both state and non-state that increase in number and diversity over time), is well designed for the inclusion of new voices, particularly competing voices – after all, it was the moderation of competing voices between tribal and settler interests that, through the land claims process, transformed Arctic governance into a meaningfully collaborative process that in many cases successfully balances those voices, finding consensus despite the many asymmetries of the actors involved. The Arctic Council is thus firmly (and deeply) rooted in collaboration, bringing co-management to the global stage.

5 Inuit Sovereignty and Arctic Exceptionalism: Reconciling Transnationalism with Westphalianism

While inherently multilateral and collaborative, conceptualizations of Inuit sovereignty take many forms – whether a transnational form as the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) has embraced (as Jessica Shadian has thoughtfully examined),17 or a more traditional Westphalian form that aligns (as Hannes Gerhardt argues)18 with the movement for Greenlandic independence, or a hybrid form of sovereign duality and mutual interdependence, with Inuit consent essential to Canadian Arctic sovereignty and a sine qua non for Ottawa’s successful assertion, without external challenge, of sovereignty over its largely unsettled north (as Terry Fenge has elegantly argued).19 Njord Wegge, in his panoramic tour of international relations (IR) theory as applied to the Arctic, illustrates that sovereignty in the Arctic is a dynamic, complex, shape-shifting phenomenon with diverse and distinctive levels of analysis, including both transnational and subnational polities distinct from the traditional Westphalian state.20 Shadian further clarifies how the Inuit have pioneered a new, ‘post-Westphalian’ form of sovereignty that is sui generis and which provides a new, powerful vision for a world governed collaboratively and multilaterally based on the Inuit model for the Arctic. Shadian’s doctoral thesis examined the ICC as an example of a transnational polity that effectively utilized diplomacy to assert its values and interests, and which adopted a ‘post-Westphalian’ model of sovereignty freed of the confines and limitations of the nation-state, allowing Inuit to transcend national borders while maintaining their unity as part of a distinct political entity or polity. Shadian uses the term polity to capture the ambiguity of the ICC’s dual trans-state/sub-state status, and while the organization lacks formal sovereignty, it offsets this with a shared supranational identity.

In contrast to many other theorists who view the ICC, and later the Arctic Council, as examples of regime theory in action, Shadian sees in the ICC not just as a steppingstone to the Arctic Council but also as a deeper example of an alternative sovereign model, one well-suited for peoples whose subdivided homelands leave them at once sub-state and trans-state. Instead of viewing this transnationality as a hindrance, Shadian views it as an opportunity to transcend the nation-state as a model for sovereign expression. She describes the ICC as a transnational polity (or what some scholars call a virtual state) that asserts a post-Westphalian sovereignty. She traces the history of the ICC back to the instrumental and foundational role played by Inupiat leader Eben Hopson, who among his many positions of leadership served as executive director of the Arctic Slope Native Association, and who played an outsized role in much recent Inupiat history, including the founding of the ICC in 1976.21 Hopson brought to his efforts a practicality that balanced tradition and modernity, protecting cultural values while at the same time leveraging commercial opportunities. Hopson’s vision for “Eskimo sovereignty within the democratic traditions of our national government”22 was mirrored by Inuit in other jurisdictions, especially Canada. The ICC never sought formal Inuit independence, nor was tempted by secession from the state, and this enabled Inuit to remain partners in confederation with their national governments while operating as a transnational polity on the world stage – a collaborative dynamic that set the stage twenty years later with the formation of the Arctic Council in 1996. In the years between the ICC’s founding in 1976 and the Arctic Council’s formation in 1996, the ICC’s “amassed legitimacy built up over time,” providing Inuit with the “authority for determining the shape and direction in which Arctic development is defined and proceeds,” and the ICC thus reflected a “culmination of a more complex and multidimensional narrative of Arctic international relations.”23

Rodon also examines the evolution of Inuit diplomacy since the 1970s, and like Shadian salutes Hopson’s “visionary” leadership, and also his pragmatism – under whose leadership “Inuit were able to move to the international scene, first by seeking the recognition as an NGO by the United Nations and later by lobbying very effectively for the construction of an Arctic space through the creation of the Arctic Council,” part of the ongoing transnational effort by the ICC at “reframing spaces and redefining narratives,” and evolving into a “clear vehicle toward fostering Inuit autonomy,” and later redefining sovereignty in the Arctic, as illustrated by the 2009 Circumpolar Inuit Declaration on Sovereignty in the Arctic.24 The tug of war between regional and transnational forces is evident not only in the above-noted tensions, but also in the very model of sovereignty reflected by transnational bodies like the ICC, with a post-Westphalian vision of sovereignty as Shadian describes, versus a more traditional Westphalian sovereign vision, of the sort that Hannes Gerhardt describes as emerging in Greenland as its autonomy process paves the way forward toward eventual independence.25

Instead of focusing on the transnational nature of the ICC as an Inuit polity asserting post-Westphalian sovereignty as Shadian has done, longtime Inuit advisor, prolific scholar, and one of the intellectual architects of Nunavut, Terry Fenge describes a collaborative sovereignty linking Inuit consent to the Canadian state’s ability to assert sovereignty over its vast Arctic.26 Fenge spent much of his career as a policy advisor to the Inuit leadership and helped to build and sustain the alignment of interests between the Inuit and Ottawa that has enabled Ottawa to successfully assert sovereignty over its largely unsettled and underdeveloped Arctic territories through the consent, support, and partnership of the Inuit. Their ‘shared space’ is not just the institutions of co-management, but the physical territory of the Canadian Arctic where two claims to the land are mutually strengthened by the reconciliation and reciprocal recognition achieved through the land claims process, and where joint governance is made possible despite the fundamental asymmetry of the governing partners in population or material power.27 Because Inuit maintain local and regional demographic predominance in Nunavut, they serve as effective proxies for Canadian sovereignty assertion where Ottawa itself lacks a robust industrial, infrastructural, or settler presence. During the colonial era, states often gained title to Indigenous lands through treaties of cession and surrender, whether negotiated or after military victories, prior to formal settlement (though in reality, settlers often were already there and treaties ratified the new demographic realities); in the age of Arctic land claims, states grant title to Indigenous lands (and compensation for lands ceded to the state) without a demographic influx – winning instead Indigenous recognition of the state’s sovereign claims, with the Indigenous peoples serving as the representatives of the sovereign. It is this dynamic that has enabled land claims treaties to empower, rather than disempower, Indigenous beneficiaries.

6 American Arctic Policy: An Enduring Embrace of Arctic Collaboration

Arctic sovereignty becomes, de facto, a collaborative venture between Indigenous peoples and the state – and this collaboration, and the many systems of co-management that have emerged as a result of this collaboration, secures the Arctic region and ensures its stability – becoming a governing principle shared by other Arctic states, undergirding what has become known as Arctic exceptionalism. This is as evident in American Arctic policy as it is in Canadian policy. While the latter has gained wide recognition for its whole-of-government approach to reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, and embrace of an inherent right to Aboriginal self-governance as an inherent constitutional right, the former has a long, albeit complicated, history of tribal recognition that mirrors the Canadian effort in endurance, and shares with its evolutionary and iterative improvement over time as policies of assimilation lost favor to policies of inclusion. It was, after all, Alaska that pioneered the comprehensive land claim model that was later embraced and, in many ways, enhanced, by Canada, breaking cleanly from the longer tradition of the reservation model that took root in both countries – laying the collaborative foundation stone that transformed and modernized Arctic North America’s political economy.

Indeed, a comparative look at U.S. Arctic strategy during the post-Cold War period shows an unbroken chain of official documents committing America to collaborative, multilateral Arctic engagement, in partnership with Arctic Indigenous peoples and states – including Russia, with which the U.S. first aligned its interests in the immediate post-Cold War era, an alignment that endured for two decades, as reflected at the May 28, 2008 Arctic Ocean Conference in Ilulissat, Greenland and the Ilulissat Declaration agreed to there, uniting the interests of the Arctic five (A5) littoral states and embracing the Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC) as the guiding mechanism for Arctic Ocean management. This collaborative embrace, evident as far back as the Clinton Administration’s Presidential Decision Directive (PDD)/NSC-26 on Arctic policy issued on June 9, 1994, was also reaffirmed in the George W. Bush Administration’s Arctic policy update, National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD-66), on January 9, 2009, and again in the Obama Administration’s National Strategy for the Arctic Region (NSAR) issued on May 10, 2013 – presenting us with a rare example of enduring partisanship that only unravelled after Russia’s annexation of Crimea the next year.28 Indeed, over these two decades spanning the collapse of the Soviet Union and re-emergence of a sovereign Russian state, and the eruption of the Global War on Terror, and well into the acceleration of a polar thaw, regardless of ruling political party, American Arctic strategy remained at heart collaborative and multilateral.

But in the years that have followed the release of NSAR, global interest in the Arctic has greatly intensified, and in response the Arctic Council has opened its doors to a wide range of non-Arctic states as official observers of the Council, with many opportunities to participate in Arctic Council business, particular at the working group level, where distinctions between members and observers is less salient. The increasing complexity of world politics, and in particular, of Arctic international relations, and the recent assertion of interests in and through the Arctic by non-Arctic states, combined with a strategic re-assessment of Russian military ambitions in world politics that followed its Crimea annexation, has tested the very foundations of America’s long-standing collaborative Arctic policy – precipitating a re-assessment of American strategic policy with regard to the Arctic region, and a questioning of the range of inclusivity of Arctic exceptionalism, though not an outright rejection of Arctic exceptionalism, more an effort to re-imagine Arctic exceptionalism within the lens of alliance solidarity and hemispheric security interests.

This re-assessment was first articulated in the December 2016 Report to Congress on Strategy to Protect United States National Security Interests in the Arctic Region, and re-affirmed by the April 2019 United States Coast Guard Arctic Strategic Outlook, where dual concerns with both Russia’s and China’s Arctic ambitions contrast with the collaborative spirit that infused preceding strategy documents. Importantly, Arctic collaboration is still a guiding principle – but it is framed in prudence more by alliance cooperation and joint military partnerships than the presumed universality and inevitability of Arctic cooperation. The cooperative foundation undergirding Arctic exceptionalism for more than a generation has thus been tested – but so far, even in the wake of the unprecedented diplomatic fireworks on display at the 2019 Rovaniemi Arctic Council ministerial, it has withstood these new competitive pressures. Recent updates to American Arctic policy during the Trump administration – including the June 2020 White House memo on Arctic strategy recommitting America to its icebreaker modernization program with an expanded vision of overseas basing as a means of more strongly asserting a sovereign presence in the Arctic region – reflected a strengthening perception in policy circles of the re-emergence of competing interests in the Arctic, shifting the tone away from universal collaboration to a more nested collaboration between allies united strategically by alliance and/or bilateral defense treaties.

These tensions leapt forth from the pages of policy and strategy documents to diplomatic ripples on the world stage at the May 2019 Ministerial. But even there, public comments from the U.S. Secretary of State on the return of Westphalian state competition to the Arctic made outside the Council chambers for the benefit of both his domestic audience as well as for news headlines to convey the newly re-assessed U.S. position on a more competitive Arctic domain, did not prevent the Secretary’s continued collaboration with fellow Council members behind closed doors during the very same Council session, nor did it disrupt ongoing collaboration at the working group level of the Council, though it did prevent the issuance of a joint consensus statement at the meeting’s end (for the first time) – perhaps, in its own way, the exceptional nature of this brief failure to achieve consensus is itself an affirmation of the importance of consensus to the Council, rather than its rejection.

7 After Rovaniemi: The Restoration of Consensus

While the 2019 Rovaniemi ministerial did not conclude with a joint consensus statement, as has long been the tradition for such meetings at their conclusion, this had much to do with new disagreements within the Council on the causal origins and global extent (which had previously enjoyed consensus on the Council) of the polar thaw. The collapse of the climate change consensus (with roots outside the Arctic and firmly planted in a policy reversal in the U.S. that has since been un-reversed with the transition to a new administration), was the culprit, and not a collapse in the Council’s mutual embrace of and commitment to consensus governance itself. Indeed, widely quoted comments by then Secretary of State Pompeo rejecting China’s claim of a special ‘Near-Arctic’ status and calling for a transparent, rules-based order in the Arctic have been warmly (if more discreetly) embraced by several other Council members.29 Moreover, internal divisions within the Council membership, such as those between the Arctic Five (A5) – the five states littoral to the Arctic basin (Russia, the U.S., Canada, Denmark (Greenland) and Norway), and the three other Council member states (Iceland, Sweden and Finland) which flared up a decade ago at Ilulissat, or the potential rift between Russia and the other seven Council member states after Russia’s Crimea annexation, are potentially more divisive than disagreements over climate change, and thus a far graver threat to the Council’s collaborative dynamic – and yet, the Council’s collaborative dynamic has held.

Indeed, as the Biden administration came to power in 2021, it quickly put into reverse many of the previous administration’s policies regarding climate change and Arctic environmental protection, while maintaining the more nested vision of Arctic cooperation articulated by the preceding administration, framed by a general distrust of China and Russia in global affairs. But the tone did quickly shift away from open confrontation to a more collaborative rhetoric. As Betsy Baker, an international lawyer in Alaska, told Michele Kelemen on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Saturday on the eve of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s first Council ministerial in Iceland in May 2021, “The Biden administration has the opportunity to say, this is a new start. We’re returning to what’s been the longstanding recipe for success in the Arctic Council, which is to focus on what we have in common and not on the tensions that divide us.”30

Because the Council is so deeply collaborative at its core, with its three categories of participants (members, permanent participants, and observers – including both state and non-state entities) finding many opportunities to work together on the Council’s many substantive working groups tackling the region’s many challenges in a collaborative manner regardless of their relative formal powers within the Council itself, like any collaborative governing body, disagreements are quite natural, and are better resolved through ongoing discussion rather than pressures for an immediate (and less enduring) agreement. Indeed, the Arctic is the front during the Cold War that remained most free of armed conflict, and was recognized not only by the Inuit as a natural zone of peace, but also by the last premier of the Soviet Union for this very same virtue, a view that was later embraced by the authors of successive American Arctic policy statements after the Soviet collapse regardless of political party or partisan view of Russia.

As more and more states from outside the Arctic region join the Council as observers, new and diverse interests in the Arctic will find a voice in these discussions and transform what was an easier dialogue between fellow Arctic states with a common heritage and shared geopolitical frontier into a more dynamic, complex and at times more difficult conversation. But a conversation it will be, and it’s at this table where old Arctic powers like the United States and Russia found common ground for nearly a quarter century in spite of the previous three quarters of a century marked largely by ideological and geopolitical rivalry, suggesting that the introduction of new voices, from non-Arctic states with increasing interest in Arctic economic opportunities, need not jeopardize the underlying spirit of collaboration that has guided the Arctic Council since its inception. That being said, many Arctic strategies and policies of the many Arctic stakeholders have shifted in tone in recent years to more nationalist and regionalist views, but intriguingly, there has also been a notable rise in attention to Arctic Indigenous peoples and Indigenous-state relations from a diverse range of stakeholders.31 Consider the case of Russia. In Russia’s “Arctic Policy Foundations to 2035” (released in July 2020), the term ‘Indigenous’ is mentioned fifteen times, and ‘native’ mentioned twice – with “protecting the environment in the Arctic, preserving the native lands and traditional way of life of Indigenous peoples residing in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation” considered in section I (General Terms) to be part of the “primary national interests of the Russian Federation in the Arctic,”32 and perhaps most relevant with regard to the rise of the co-management paradigm in Russia is the inclusion among Russia’s “primary objectives for the development of international cooperation” in the Arctic in section III (Goals, Primary Trends, and Objectives of the State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic) of “providing assistance to Indigenous minorities in building cross-border cooperation, cultural contacts, and establishing economic activities with other minority and ethnic groups residing outside the Russian Federation. In addition, facilitating the contribution of Indigenous minorities to international cooperation on ethnocultural development between the states and in accordance with international agreements of the Russian Federation.”33

A similar though less oft-mentioned commitment to Indigenous engagement and collaboration is evident in The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China’s January 2018 “Arctic White Paper”, where the term ‘Indigenous’ is mentioned seven times (intriguingly, the exact same number of times Japan, China’s principal regional rival, mentions ‘Indigenous’ in its 2015 Arctic policy). Among China’s Policy Goals and Basic Principles on the Arctic is: “To protect the Arctic, China will actively respond to climate change in the Arctic, protect its unique natural environment and ecological system, promote its own climatic, environmental and ecological resilience, and respect its diverse social culture and the historical traditions of the Indigenous peoples.”34 Central to China’s Arctic policy approach is its commitment to the mutuality of respect that defines and permeates Arctic domestic and international politics: “‘Respect’ is the key basis for China’s participation in Arctic affairs. Respect should be reciprocal. It means all States should abide by international treaties such as the UN Charter and the UNCLOS, as well as general international law. They should respect the sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction enjoyed by the Arctic States in this region, respect the tradition and culture of the Indigenous peoples, as well as respect the rights and freedom of non-Arctic States to carry out activities in this region in accordance with the law, and respect the overall interests of the international community in the Arctic.”35 Inherent in Beijing’s commitment to mutual respect is its capacity to ensure a ‘win-win’ outcome, which is what ultimately Arctic exceptionalism is all about: “‘Win-win result’ is the value pursuit of China’s participation in Arctic affairs. It means all stakeholders in this area should pursue mutual benefit and common progress in all fields of activities. Such cooperation should ensure that the benefits are shared by both Arctic and non-Arctic States as well as by nonstate entities and should accommodate the interests of local residents including the Indigenous peoples.”36

These expressions of support for Indigenous collaboration and the harmonization of Indigenous and state interests in the Arctic by such a wide range of states is not oxymoronic; increasingly, Arctic states of all types recognize that the stability of the Arctic region and their ability to assert sovereignty over the region depends upon the consent of Indigenous Arctic peoples, just as non-Arctic states of all types with interests in the region recognize a comparably important role for Indigenous Arctic peoples as partners and legitimizers of their Arctic aspirations.

8 The Endurance of Arctic Exceptionalism

Indeed, despite Russia’s military, diplomatic and economic resurgence, China’s continued rise and aspiration to become a more prominent Arctic influencer, and U.S. recognition in recent years of the growing challenge presented by a Russia-China alignment in the Arctic as reflected in multiple Arctic policy and strategy documents since 2016 – creating what University of Calgary political scientist Rob Huebert describes as a “New Arctic Strategic Triangle Environment (NASTE)”37 – the depth of commitment to Arctic collaboration by Arctic states and Indigenous peoples has thus far not only not been meaningfully undermined or threatened by a renewal of Westphalian state competition, but appears to be gaining momentum and crossing new borders into states with a far less demonstrated track record of Indigenous collaboration.

This should come as no surprise, since state rivalry, even amidst the widely recognized condition of Arctic exceptionalism, never truly went away, whether prior to Russia’s annexation of Crimea galvanizing a recommitment to the protection of national interests and sovereignty in the Arctic, or after the Trump administration’s establishment of new policies rejecting the otherwise universal consensus on climate change and emphasizing U.S. interests over and above transnational collaborative interests. Instead, conflicts between the Arctic states have instead been successfully counterbalanced by a mutuality of collaborative values with deep historical roots reaching back long before the Arctic Council itself was formed, and which achieved circumpolar universality at the end of the Cold War and will likely continue to be so in the years that follow.

That is why the U.S. and Canada embraced mutual collaboration on multiple fronts even while disagreeing, as friends and neighbors, on issues including their joint boundary in the petroleum-rich Beaufort Sea, and the legal status of the Northwest Passage – neither a trivial matter. And Norway and Russia likewise have found many reasons to cooperate, even with one firmly embedded in the NATO alliance and the other long NATO’s principal adversary and increasingly perceived as a re-emergent threat to the West. Within the Council, there have been many tensions before, including, as noted above, those between the littoral Arctic states with shores along the Arctic basin (A5) and the three other Arctic states that aligned Russia with four NATO members, against another NATO member and two non-NATO Arctic states, as seen at Ilulissat in 2008. A mutual commitment to collaboration does not simply erase the existence of competing national interests; it just manages this competition within a structure defined by mutual commitment to collaboration, rather than through conflict – a commitment reflected in many founding Arctic Council members’ historic embrace of co-management, which likewise managed the competing interests of tribe and state within a collaborative mechanism domestically.

As explained at the start of this chapter, while the Council’s member states and Indigenous permanent participants reflect, to a large measure, the original parties to the co-management process that took root in Arctic North America after land claims were settled, recent years have witnessed a proliferation in the number of observer states that now participate in Council meetings and on its working groups from well outside the Arctic, increasing and diversifying the voices at the Council (even though those new voices don’t have the organizational status or influence of the founding members or Indigenous Permanent Participants), and increasing the complexity of the many interactions that take place both within the working groups, and both at and on the sidelines of its ministerials – some of these new stakeholders have taken a collaborative approach with their own Indigenous peoples (such as Singapore, which has recently embraced a reassessment of its precolonial history and restored its place in the national narrative; and Japan, which has resumed progress on the recognition of Ainu indigeneity, the restoration of Ainu rights, and the revitalization of Ainu identity in recent years), and thus appear well disposed to embracing the co-management paradigm in their Arctic relations while embarking on their own domestic journeys toward greater Indigenous inclusivity, co-management and collaboration, while others have not (such as China, which continues to oppress non-Han minorities from occupied Tibet to Xinjang, and which does not formally recognize its Indigenous peoples, though it does celebrate the diversity of its many minority cultures, while also articulating its respect for Arctic Indigenous peoples in its Arctic policy).38

Indeed, China’s courtship of Indigenous partners at the Arctic Council, and in its bilateral relationships with Indigenous polities such as Greenland – the increasingly autonomous province of the Kingdom of Denmark – may further acculturate Beijing’s diplomatic officials to the Council’s paradigm of diplomatic collaboration between states and Indigenous peoples, and increase their sensitivity to and awareness of Indigenous issues – lessons they can bring home, and which in time may percolate down into domestic policy reforms. Such a dynamic may in fact be also under way in Singapore and Japan, though causality has yet to be documented linking their experiences as Council observers to their domestic policy reforms on Indigenous inclusion and diversity. By embracing co-management, and navigating both the complex administrative landscape of the post-land claims Arctic and the collaborative institutional environment of the Council where IPOs and states jointly manage non-security dimensions of Arctic international relations with humility and respect, non-Arctic states can find enthusiastic partners in villages from one end of the Arctic to the other, and through the mutuality of collaboration, enjoy the reciprocity of what’s been called the ‘shared space’ of co-management.39 This can in turn build trust, and smooth relations not only with Indigenous communities and local levels of governance, but also with the national agencies and departments that participate in the co-management process. It’s important to remember that Arctic co-management has been around for over half a century now, with a robust and evolving system of interlocking institutions of multilevel governance that increasingly unite the levels of analysis – from the local to the international level across the state-tribe interface via an Indigenous, transnational bridge, becoming an emergent paradigm for collaborative northern governance – and that stakeholders, representing the increasingly harmonized interests of Indigenous and state, are deeply and mutually committed to the co-management process and the reconciliation of competing interests through mutual respect.

The state of Arctic exceptionalism may not be an inherent default condition of Arctic international relations, but instead the byproduct of the Arctic’s distinct historical, strategic, and geographical context and evolving governance systems – a condition that could erode as historical trends, the strategic environment, and the region’s insular geography transform as a result of climate change, which may introduce myriad new stressors to disrupt the Arctic calm. Nonetheless, enduring structural changes to Arctic governance, particularly the rise of co-management as a paradigm for joint governance between Indigenous peoples and the state, and gradual internationalization of co-management from a governing principle to a diplomatic principle, has had much to do with the durability of Arctic exceptionalism amidst the recent rise in Westphalian state competition across the Arctic region, and promises – with support from new stakeholders with interests in the Arctic region – to continue doing so in the years to come.

*

Class of 1965 Arctic Scholar at the United States Coast Guard Academy. The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not reflect the official positions of the Department of Homeland Security or the U.S. Coast Guard.

1

Such as Gary N. Wilson, Christopher Alcantara, and Thierry Rodon, Nested Federalism and Inuit Governance in the Canadian Arctic (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2010) illustrating the former (domestic); and illustrating the latter (international), Akiho Shibata, Leilei Zou, Nikolas Sellheim, and Marzia Scopelliti, eds., Emerging Legal Orders in the Arctic: The Role of Non-Arctic Actors (London: Routledge 2019), and (at least in part) Minori Takahashi, ed., The Influence of Sub-state Actors on National Security Using Military Bases to Forge Autonomy (NYC: Springer 2019), which includes Greenland as a case study (the editor’s specialty) as well as additional Pacific basin case studies including Okinawa that extends this literature from the Arctic to the Pacific and beyond.

2

See Derek Armitage, ed., Adaptive Co-Management: Collaboration, Learning, and Multi-Level Governance (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2008) as a prime example, in addition to the more recent edited volume, Brenda L. Parlee and Ken Caine, eds., When the Caribou Do Not Come: Indigenous Knowledge and Adaptive Management in the Western Arctic (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2018). For a glimpse of co-management’s recent emergence as a governing paradigm in the Russian Arctic, see Nicholas Parlato, Gail Fondahl, Viktoriya Filippova, and Antonina Savvinova, “The Evolution of Forming ‘Territories of Traditional Nature Use’ in the Sakha Republic (Iakutiia),” Sibirica 20, no. 1 (Spring 2021), 1–27. Though there is still reason for some caution and skepticism regarding the potential for co-management to transform governance in the Russian Arctic to the extent seen in Arctic North America, as explained by Lauren Kaljur, “Why Russia’s Indigenous People Are Wary of National Parks,” The New Humanitarian, May 9, 2017, https://deeply.thenewhumanitarian.org/arctic/articles/2017/05/09/why-russias-indigenous-people-are-wary-of-national-parks.

3

Among the most recent of this crop of publications is Danita Catherine Burke’s Diplomacy and the Arctic Council (Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019); Douglas C. Nord’s The Changing Arctic: Creating a Framework for Consensus Building and Governance Within the Arctic Council (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), John English’s Ice and Water: Politics, Peoples and the Arctic Council (Toronto: Allen Lane, 2013), in addition to Kathrin Keil and Sebastian Knecht, eds. Governing Arctic Change: Global Perspectives (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) which includes rich concentration of contributed chapters from luminaries in the field such as Jessica M. Shadian (chapter 3, “Reimagining Political Space: The Limits of Arctic Indigenous Self-Determination in International Governance?,” 43–57); Christoph Humrich (chapter 5, “Coping with Institutional Challenges for Arctic Environmental Governance,” 81–99); Piotr Graczyk, Małgorzata Śmieszek, Timo Koivurova, and Adam Stępień (chapter 7, “Preparing for the Global Rush: The Arctic Council, Institutional Norms, and Socialisation of Observer Behaviour,” 121–139); Duncan Depledge and Klaus Dodds (chapter 8, “Bazaar Governance: Situating the Arctic Circle,” 141–160); Sebastian Knecht (chapter 9, “Exploring Different Levels of Stakeholder Activity in International Institutions: Late Bloomers, Regular Visitors, and Overachievers in Arctic Council Working Groups,” 163–185); Dorothea Wehrmann (chapter 10, “Non-State Actors in Arctic Council Governance,” 187–206); and Ken Coates and Carin Holroyd (chapter 11, “Non-Arctic States and Their Stake in Arctic Sustainability,” 207–228). There is also a growing number of doctoral theses that probe the origins and evolution of the Arctic Council since its founding in 1996, including Andrew Chater’s 2015 dissertation, “Explaining the Evolution of the Arctic Council,” at the University of Western Ontario under the supervision of Elizabeth Riddell-Dixon. This literature has been supplemented by numerous articles, including Danita Catherine Burke, “Club Diplomacy in the Arctic,” Global Governance 25 (2019): 304–326; Nadine Fabbi, Scott Montgomery and Eric W. Finke, “The Arctic Council: A Unique Institution in 21st Century IR,” World Policy Blog, June 5, 2017, www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2017/07/05/arctic-council-unique-institution-21st-century-international-relations; Terry Fenge and Bernard Funston, “The Practice and Promise of the Arctic Council,” Greenpeace Report (2015): 1–32; Paula Kankaanpaa and Oran R. Young, “The Effectiveness of the Arctic Council,” Polar Research 31, no. 1 (2012); Danita Catherine Burke and Andre Saramago, “Singapore’s Use of Education as a Soft Power Tool in Arctic Diplomacy,” Asian Survey 58, no. 5 (2018): 920–941; Evgeniia Sidorova, “Circumpolar Indigeneity in Canada, Russia, and the United States (Alaska): Do Differences Result in Representational Challenges for the Arctic Council?,” Arctic 72, no. 1 (March 2019): 71–81; Tom Barry, Brynhildur Daviðsdóttir, Níels Einarsson, Oran R. Young, “The Arctic Council: An Agent of Change?,” Global Environmental Change 63 (July 2020)” and “How Does the Arctic Council Support Conservation of Arctic Biodiversity?,” Sustainability 12 (2020): 5042; Andrew Chater, “An Explanation for the Growing Institutional Capacity of the Arctic Council,” The Northern Review 48 (2018): 51–80; Michael Kluth and Kennet Lynggaard, “Small State Strategies in Emerging Regional Governance Structures: Explaining the Danish Advocacy for China’s Inclusion in the Arctic Council,” European Politics and Society 19, no. 1 (2018), 103–119; and Bai Jiayu and Hu Huijun, “Transcending Divisions and Harmonizing Interests: How the Arctic Council Experience Can Inform Regional Cooperation on Environmental Protection in the South China Sea,” Chinese Journal of International Law (2016): 935–94, among others.

4

For a discussion of this structural duality of IPOs, see Barry Scott Zellen, “A ‘Fourth Image’ at the Interface of Tribe and State: Tribal Homelands, Expanding States, and the Foundation of International Order from the Western Arctic to Borneo,” Presentation to the 14th International Borneo Research Council Conference, August 6, 2018. Additionally, the theoretical contours the “4th image” are described in my earlier, “Rethinking the Subcomponents of World Order,” Small Wars Journal, August 15, 2012 and “Clan, the State, and War: Lessons from the Far North,” Joint Force Quarterly (JFQ) 58, no. 3 (2010): 20–21.

5

As studied in my Breaking the Ice: From Land Claims to Tribal Sovereignty in the Arctic (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2008), which looked at the dialectic between tribe and state in the resolution of Arctic land claims, and the way subsequent iterations of land claims in Arctic Canada transformed the Alaska model that brought forth the pioneering Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) as a tool of assimilation into an increasingly neoliberal world; over time, as the land claims model matured, it swung pendularly to become a powerful tool of native empowerment and affirmation of identity. This was an effort to resolve the dialectical tension along the Arctic’s frontier/homeland continuum (as Thomas Berger’s work has examined in great detail and with unmatched eloquence, insight, and passion). My next book, On Thin Ice: The Inuit, the State and the Challenge of Arctic Sovereignty (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009) looked at the dialectical tension during the 1990s the resulted from the multilevel debate on the fundamental nature of security after the Cold War (after the land claims revolution had re-empowered native peoples), between regional native leaders and their international paradiplomats on the one hand, and the agents of the state (representing institutions of national governance, including their diplomatic corps and military institutions), as national security and Arctic defense evolved in the immediate post-Cold War years to include traditional pillars of Inuit interest – environmental, climate, human and cultural security – in addition to the traditional pillars of state interest defined primarily as the equilibrium of state, armed forces, and populace (one of Clausewitz’s central trinities, as well as the foundation of political order developed by Machiavelli during the Renaissance, and by Plato further back, during the Golden Age of Athens). On Thin Ice was, at heart, an effort to synthesize the dialectical battle between ‘sovereignty’ and ‘security’ so that domestic and not just international values were protected by the national defense, as Grant’s work examined. Further, my third book, Arctic Doom, Arctic Boom: The Geopolitics of Climate Change in the Arctic (ABC-Clio/Praeger Security and the Environment, 2010) looked at the emerging geopolitics of the polar thaw and its transformation to the Arctic’s political geography resulting in unprecedented sea ice loss and the opening of what Rob Huebert and Brooks Yeager have called the “New Sea” in 2008, finding that future ‘cooperation’ and ‘conflict’ were equally plausible outcomes of what Ed Struzik has called the ‘Big Thaw’ (Ed Struzik, The Big Thaw: Travels in the Melting North (Boston: Wiley, 2009)).

6

See the following works from Jessica Shadian, “Reconceptualizing Sovereignty Through Indigenous Autonomy: A Case Study of Arctic Governance and the Inuit Circumpolar Conference,” PhD Thesis, Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Delaware (2006); “Remaking Arctic Governance: The Construction of an Arctic Inuit Polity,” Polar Record 42, no. 3 (2006): 249–259; “From States to Polities: Reconceptualizing Sovereignty through Inuit Governance,” European Journal of International Relations 16, no. 1 (March 2010): 1–26.

7

This interconnected, inherently dialectical, and transformative historical process is studied closely in my Breaking the Ice: From Land Claims to Tribal Sovereignty in the Arctic (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2008), which looked at the dialectic between tribe and state in the resolution of Arctic land claims, and the way subsequent iterations of land claims in Arctic Canada transformed the Alaska model that brought forth the pioneering Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) as a tool of assimilation into an increasingly neoliberal world; over time, as the land claims model matured, it swung pendularly to become a powerful tool of native empowerment and affirmation of identity. Its sequel, On Thin Ice: The Inuit, the State and the Challenge of Arctic Sovereignty (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009) looked at the dialectical tension during the 1990s the resulted from the multilevel debate on the fundamental nature of security after the Cold War (after the land claims revolution had re-empowered native peoples), between regional native leaders and their international paradiplomats on the one hand, and the agents of the state (representing institutions of national governance, including their diplomatic corps and military institutions), as national security and Arctic defense evolved in the immediate post-Cold War years to include traditional pillars of Inuit interest – environmental, climate, human and cultural security – in addition to the traditional pillars of state interest defined primarily as the equilibrium of state, armed forces, and populace (one of Clausewitz’s central trinities, as well as the foundation of political order developed by Machiavelli during the Renaissance, and by Plato further back, during the Golden Age of Athens). On Thin Ice was, at heart, an effort to synthesize the dialectical battle between ‘sovereignty’ and ‘security’ so that domestic and not just international values were protected by the national defense.

8

Mark Nuttall, “Aboriginal Participation, Consultation, and Canada’s Mackenzie Gas Project.” Energy & Environment 19, no. 5 (2008): 617–634.

9

Thierry Rodon and Aude Therrien, “Resource Development and Land Claims Settlement in the Canadian Arctic: Multilevel Governance, Subsidiarity and Streamlining,” in 2015 Arctic Yearbook: Arctic Governance and Governing, eds. Lassi Heininen, Heather Exner-Pirot, and Joel Plouffe (Akureyri: Northern Research Forum, 2015), 119–131.

10

Ibid.

11

Nuttall, “Aboriginal Participation,” 617–634.

12

Claudia Notzke, “A New Perspective in Aboriginal Natural Resource Management: Co- management,” Geoforum 26, no. 2 (May 1995): 187–209.

13

Ibid.

14

Derek Armitage, Fikret Berkes, Aaron Dale, Erik Kocho-Schellenberg, and Eva Patton, “Co-management and the Co-production of Knowledge: Learning to Adapt in Canada’s Arctic,” Global Environmental Change 21 (2011): 995–96; also see Aaron Dale and Derek Armitage, “Marine Mammal Co-management in Canada’s Arctic: Knowledge Co-production for Learning and Adaptive Capacity,” Marine Policy 35 (2011): 440.

15

Derek Armitage, Fikret Berkes and Nancy Doubleday, eds., Adaptive Co-Management: Collaboration, Learning and Multi-Level Governance (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2007).

16

Tony Penikett, “An Unfinished Journey: Arctic Indigenous Rights, Lands, and Jurisdiction?” Seattle University Law Review 37, no. 4 (2014): 1127–1156.

17

Shadian, “Reconceptualizing Sovereignty,” 1–26.

18

Hannes Gerhardt, “The Inuit and Sovereignty: The Case of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference and Greenland,” Politik 14, no. 1 (2011), 6–14.

19

Terry Fenge, “Inuit and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement: Supporting Canada’s Arctic Sovereignty,” Policy Options (December 2007–January 2008).

20

Njord Wegge, “The Political Order in the Arctic: Power Structures, Regimes and Influence,” Polar Record 47, no. 2 (2011): 165–176.

21

Shadian, “Remaking Arctic Governance” and “Reconceptualizing Sovereignty.”

22

Shadian, “Remaking Arctic Governance,” 255 and “Reconceptualizing Sovereignty,” 388.

23

Shadian, “Remaking Arctic Governance,” 257.

24

Thierry Rodon, “Inuit Diplomacy: Reframing the Arctic Spaces and Narratives,” The Internationalization of Indigenous Rights: UNDRIP in the Canadian Context, Centre for International Governance Innovation (2014), 18.

25

Gerhardt, The Inuit and Sovereignty,” 6–14.

26

Fenge, “Inuit and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.”

27

Application of ‘shared space’ to co-management from Jamie Snook, Ashlee Cunsolo, and Aaron Dale, “A Conceptual Representation of the ‘Shared Space’ of Co-management Research, Recommendations, Actions, and Decision-making,” Northern Public Affairs (July 2018): 52–56.

28

While there have been recurrent tensions between the various Arctic states that long predate the tensions that emerged after Russia’s Crimea annexation – including the tensions between the “A5” and the remaining three non-littoral Arctic states that arose after the first Ilulissat Declaration in 2008, or those between Russia and the other Arctic states after Moscow’s flag-planting on the North Pole’s sea floor that preceded it, and a variety of unresolved border disputes such as between the United States and Canada over their western Beaufort Sea boundary and the legal status of the Northwest Passage, between Canada and Denmark/Greenland over the sovereign status of Hans Island between Baffin Island and Greenland; and between Norway and Russia over their joint maritime boundary – none of these precipitated a revision or dilution of the collaborative framework and underlying spirit of the Arctic policies and strategies of the Arctic states as seen after 2013, which accelerated during the 2016–2020 period when national Arctic interests more than transnational Arctic collaboration regained their centrality in these policies. Once can already note a shift back toward a mutuality of collaboration as we transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, including the signing of a new Joint Contingency Plan between Russia and the United States on Bering Strait management, and the re-establishment by Executive Order of the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area in the early days of the new administration.

29

See Barry Scott Zellen, “A Missed Opportunity: How China Ceded its Claims to What Is Now the Russian Far East, Leaving Japan as Asia’s Pre-eminent ‘Near-Arctic state’,” Intersec: The Journal of International Security (October 2019): 26–28; “China and the ‘Near-Arctic’: An Opportunity Lost Over 150 Years Ago,” Georgetown Journal of International Affairs (September 5, 2019); and “China Lost Chance to Be ‘Near-Arctic’ 150 Years Ago,” Stars and Stripes, August 8, 2019.

30

“Blinken To Head North On Arctic Trip,” Weekend Edition Saturday, National Public Radio, May 15, 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/05/15/997105721/blinken-to-head-north-on-arctic-trip.

31

Barry Scott Zellen, “Arctic Strategies and Indigenous Engagement by the Numbers,” Discussion Document for DH2392, Indigenous Sovereignty & Arctic Strategies: Introduction to the Arctic-Pacific Region, Spring 2021, United States Coast Guard Academy, February 21, 2021 (unpublished).

32

Office of the President of the Russian Federation, Foundations of the Russian Federation State Policy in the Arctic for the Period up to 2035, trans. Anna Davis and Ryan Vest (Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College, March 5, 2020): 4–6, https://dnnlgwick.blob.core.windows.net/portals/0/NWCDepartments/Russia%20Maritime%20Studies%20Institute/ArcticPolicyFoundations2035_English_FINAL_21July2020.pdf?sr=b&si=DNNFileManagerPolicy&sig=DSkBpDNhHsgjOAvPILTRoxIfV%2FO02gR81NJSokwx2EM%3D.

33

Office of the President of the Russian Federation, Foundations of the Russian Federation State Policy in the Arctic, 10.

34

The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), China’s Arctic Policy, III. China’s Policy Goals and Basic Principles on the Arctic (January 2018): 5, http://english.www.gov.cn/archive/white_paper/2018/01/26/content_281476026660336.html.

35

Ibid., 5–6.

36

Ibid., 6.

37

Rob Huebert, “The New Arctic Strategic Triangle Environment (NASTE): Ramifications for Canada,” Presented to Special Senate Committee on the Arctic, Ottawa, April 3, 2019, https://sencanada.ca/content/sen/committee/421/ARCT/Briefs/RobertHuebert_e.pdf.

38

On Singapore’s courtship of Arctic indigenous peoples through its soft power approach to diplomacy, see the “Postgraduate scholarships in Singapore for Arctic indigenous students,” Singapore-Arctic Council Permanent Participants (AC PP) Cooperation Package, UArctic, May 22, 2015, https://www.uarctic.org/news/2015/5/postgraduate-scholarships-in-singapore-for-arctic-indigenous-students/. Also see Mia M. Bennett, “Singapore: The ‘Global City’ in a Globalizing Arctic,” Journal of Borderlands Studies 33, no. 2 (2018): 289–310; Hema Nadara, “How Singapore legitimises its presence in the Arctic Council,” Today Online, July 24, 2018, https://www.todayonline.com/commentary/how-has-singapore-been-legitimising-its-presence-arctic-council; and Ian Storey, “The Arctic Novice: Singapore and the High North,” Roundtable: Polar Pursuits: Asia Engages the Arctic, Asia Policy 18 (July 2014): 66–72. For a critical if now somewhat dated discussion of Japan’s Arctic Council observership and its Ainu rights policy, see Kamrul Hossain and Hiroshi Maruyama, “Japan’s Admission to the Arctic Council and Commitment to the Rights of its Indigenous Ainu People,” The Polar Journal 6, no. 1 (2016): 169–187.

39

Snook, Cunsolo and Dale, “A Conceptual Representation,” 52–56.

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