Indigenous Westphalian sovereignty? Decolonization, secession, and Indigenous rights in Greenland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


As a concept, sovereignty is not only highly contested but historically contingent. Some scholars argue that sovereignty for Indigenous peoples seldom calls forth independence or non-interference, while others maintain some Indigenous peoples have always been sovereign and independent. Others still suggest that Indigenous sovereignty is incompatible with Indigenous ways of being, knowing and relating in the world. This chapter examines sovereignty and sovereignty discourses in Greenland where self-determination is seen as a transition to full independence. I consider how the Inuit Greenlanders’ position differs from the normative conception of Indigenous self-determination stipulated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as non-secession. The chapter suggests that Inuit Greenlanders are advancing “Indigenous Westphalian Sovereignty,” a unique approach to self-determination in the Indigenous world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Inuit World
EditorsPamela Stern
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-429-27547-0
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-22539-1, 978-1-032-10692-2
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Field of science

  • Social policy


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