Speaking of Rights: Indigenous Linguistic Rights in the Arctic

Romain Chuffart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper discusses and compares the evolution of language policies, laws and rights for indigenous peoples and minorities living in six of the eight Arctic states. It focuses on language rights of indigenous peoples living in the European Arctic (Norway, Sweden, and Finland), in the American Arctic (Alaska) and in the Canadian Arctic (Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon). This paper also focuses on linguistic rights in Greenland. The aim of this study is to add to the discussion about how the use of indigenous languages in the public sphere (education, the judicial system, and interactions with the government) helps indigenous- language speakers who live in the Arctic to preserve their ways of life and their cultural identities. This paper posits that asymmetrical management is key to fulfilling indigenous linguistic rights. Devolution of language planning and policy implementation to the relevant local authorities often makes sense from a state viewpoint and, although it is not enough, it can be beneficial to indigenous speakers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-23
JournalThe yearbook of polar law
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2018
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Linguistic rights
  • indigenous rights
  • linguistic accommodations

Field of science

  • Law


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