Constructing an Indigenous Nordicity: The “New Partnership” and Canada’s Northern Agenda



Arnold, Samantha. (2011) Constructing an Indigenous Nordicity: The “New Partnership” and Canada’s Northern Agenda. International Studies Perspectives, doi: 10.1111/j.1528-3585.2011.00455.x
© 2011 International Studies Association

This paper explores Canada’s self-identity as a Nordic nation as articulated in and through the recent northern dimension of Canada’s foreign and security agenda. This image of Canadian nordicity has become aligned with what is sometimes called the “Inuit vision” of the north. This deployment of Canadian nordicity has both emerged from and facilitated a complex and mutually beneficial relationship between the Inuit of Canada and the Canadian government. This relationship is rooted in, and serves, important domestic considerations, but at the same time, it has important external dimensions that have advanced both Canadian foreign policy goals and the Inuit internationalist agenda over the past decade. Indeed, marking a rhetorical break with the colonial and assimilationist record of the past, the relationship between Canada and the Inuit is now represented as embodying a “new spirit of partnership.” This image in particular has worked to lend considerable authority to Canada’s voice in the Arctic and has been an important source of credibility and leverage both at home and abroad. It has also served as an important resource in the service of national unity to the extent that Canadians have, by and large, embraced the archetypal Inuit as exemplars of quintessentially “Canadian” values.