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Indigenous people and mineral resource extraction in Russia: The case of diamonds

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This chapter presents a case study of indigenous1 people and diamond mining in contemporary Russia. AAlthough there can be some fairly consistent and predictable environmental and social effects from extractive industries the world over, indigenous responses vary widely, depending on specific histories and level of rights exercised by different groups. Mining and indigenous peoples of Russia need to be understood within the context of the circumpolar north.2

Since World War II governments have increasingly moved into territorial northlands for resources, transportation corridors, education, healthcare and administration facilities, and national defence. Concomitantly, Arctic indigenous peoples have defended their homelands and cultures (Jull 2003: 23), making the Arctic a proving ground for localising indigenous human rights (AHDR 2004; Caulfield 1997; Habeck 2003; Nuttall 1998; Sejersen 2002; Sirina 2005; Wilson 1999). Arctic indigenous groups have made claims to their resources, knowledge and rights with some success (Berkes 1999; Dahl et al. 2000), showing that northern indigenous peoples can achieve levels of social and economic equity, cultural survival and political devolution. Self-government and selfdetermination are the central foci of contemporary indigenous concerns in the Arctic. The establishment of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (1971), Greenland Home Rule (1979) and the first indigenous territory of Nunavut (1999) are three such successes and serve as examples for other Arctic and global contexts.
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Keywords: diamonds; extraction; indigenous; mineral; people; resource; russia

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 12 November 2008

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