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“We cannot change history. The government considers the

colonial period a finished chapter in our common history.

We are happy that times are different now.”

Responding to the call for an apology to the Greenlandic people, Danish ex-Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen refused to apologise for the mistreatment of Greenlanders by the Danish state with the above statement. Yet the history of Danish domination and exploitation of Greenland is part and parcel of both Greenlandic and Danish realities. The only way to really change the course of history is to face up to it.

One of the most important recent analyses of Denmark’s (continued) role in Greenland is written by my sister, Naja. Her thesis from Trent University, Ontario, National Identity in Greenland in the Age of Self-Government outlines the history of Danish colonialism and explores how this history has shaped the emergence of Greenland as a nation. It is an excellent overview of the main problematics involved in the shaping of modern Greenland. It was published as a working paper at the Centre for the Critical Study of Global Power and Politics (the paper can be downloaded in its entirety in the article database).

1. Introduction

2. History of Greenland and Denmark relations: The Forgotten Colonialism

3. Perspectives on National Identity in Greenland

4. The Representation of Greenland as a Form of Eskimo Orientalism

5. Self-Government in Greenland

6. Conclusion

Reference: Naja D. Graugaard (2009) National identity in Greenland in the age of self-government. Working paper, Centre for the Critical Study of Global Power and Politics, Trent University.

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