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New Left Review I/79, May-June 1973


Hugh Brody

Eskimo Politics: the Threat from the South

Over the past 25 years the marginal lands of extractive industry have extended to the world’s remotest regions, with the accelerated spread of large-scale international corporations, the extension of us economic imperialism and the growing tendency of corporations to collaborate on specific resource development projects. Against a background of rising panic at the prospect of a world energy and mineral shortage particularly in the last five years, the hidden treasure of these most distant areas has become accessible. As new economies of scale have been made possible, the long arm of development has begun to reach out even for the shores and islands of the high Arctic. Enormous economic changes are now taking place in the far north of Alaska and Canada, in the lands of the least developed peoples of North America, [1] The number of Eskimos in North America is about 180,000, of which 14,000 are in Canada, 25,000 in Alaska, 40,000 in Greenland with at least 1,500 in the USSR. The Eskimos are ethnically quite distinct from North American Indians, and unlike the Indians all the different Eskimo groups speak a common language. and it is these massive changes which provide the context for the political formation of an underdeveloped ethnic minority.

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