Arctic Sovereignty: Part ThreePublished on 28 February 2014 Blog by Senator Charlie Watt (retired)
Over the past year, Dr. Claudio Aporta of Dalhousie University has prepared a report titled, Inuit Trails and Arctic Occupancy. His work is unique, as it’s the first to clearly compile and analyze historical maps of Inuit occupancy of the Arctic. Dr. Aporta used written histories, often based on other historical documents and oral history.
While the Arctic is often thought of as barren or empty, this report shows that Inuit routes connect our culture, reflecting Inuit use of the Arctic that predates encounters with Europeans. The trails documented by Dr. Aporta allow for the flow of people, ideas, trade, culture, and language in the Arctic.
His work proves “intensive use of most of the waters and coasts associated with the proposed routes of the Northwest Passage” by Inuit. This timely work comes as the Northwest Passage takes on a new significance as use of the Passage as a shipping channel sees unprecedented growth in use as climate change opens new shipping lanes.
This fascinating work proves an enduring connection of the Inuit to our territories and has relevance as the Arctic continues to gain geopolitical importance.