The Arctic may be the last frontier of colonialism, where industrial societies are aggressively exploiting the resources and undermining the social cohesion of indigenous peoples. In fact, this colonization of the circumpolar north is only now reaching its full momentum. Among the new conquistadores are oil company geologists, loggers, even resource biologists, bringing not only industrial pollution but also cultural pollution in their wake. For centuries, the aboriginal Arctic population has efficiently used resources to meet modest human needs, developing a special relationship to the land, water, and wildlife. But at the intersection of national ambitions and arctic ecosystems, native communities are being relentlessly squeezed between the ravages of resource extraction and the often naive agendas of environmentalists in urban centers far away.
This volume explores some of the major threats to the Arctic environment and indigenous peoples' responses to these threats. Case studies discuss the push for oil and gas development in Canada, Alaska, and Russia; the toxic legacy of the former Soviet Union; land tenure conflicts in Russia; and wildlife management in Canada and Scandinavia.