Over the past decade research examining the human dimensions of climatic change in the Arctic has expanded significantly and has become the dominant framework through which the relations between northern peoples and climatic change are understood by scholars, policy makers, political leaders, and the media. This paper critically examines the assumptions, exclusions, and orientations that characterize this broad literature, and suggests revising and expanding the terms upon which it is carried out. It focuses in particular on the exclusion of colonialism from the study of human vulnerability and adaptation to climatic change, the framing of Indigenous peoples and communities in terms of the local and the traditional, and the ways in which efforts to improve the lives of northern Indigenous peoples risk perpetuating colonial relations. The paper argues that these exclusions and orientations lead scholars to systematically overlook the immense importance of resource extraction and shipping as human dimensions of climatic change in the Canadian Arctic, and it examines the implications of such oversights.

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Keywords Adaptation, Climate change, Colonialism, Governmentality, Indigenous, Inuit, Legibility, Local knowledge, Mining, Resource extraction, Shipping, Vulnerability
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2011.11.004
Journal Global Environmental Change
Citation
Cameron, E. (2012). Securing indigenous politics: A critique of the vulnerability and adaptation approach to the human dimensions of climate change in the canadian arctic. Global Environmental Change, 22(1), 103–114. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2011.11.004