The first Arctic Peoples' Conference, held in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, from 22 November to 25 November, was attended by about sixty delegates representing the native peoples of the far northern boundaries of North America, The Atlantic and Europe.
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Background: The first Arctic Peoples' Conference, held in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, from 22 November to 25 November, was attended by about sixty delegates representing the native peoples of the far northern boundaries of North America, The Atlantic and Europe.
They met on behalf of the Eskimos of alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland.
The President of the historic conference was Mr. James Wah-Shee, the President for the Indian Brotherhood of Northwest Territories and Federation of Natives North of 60 Degrees. Mr. Wah-Shee was mainly responsible for organising an international conference for the ethnic minorities in the Arctic.
Opening the Arctic Peoples' Conference, Mr. Wah-shee said the minorities in the region had for too long left too much responsibility for the management of their resources to outside administrators. He said the gas, oil and mining industries had been mismanaged by governments more concerned with the extraction of natural resources than the well being of the native people.
Mr. Wah-Shee said that amid the current energy crisis, the sudden scramble for new resources posed a clear threat to the Eskimo lifestyle. They were already aware of how easily the balance of nature was upset by the slightest disturbance of the Arctic environment.
He said the time had come when the Arctic family must joint together to decide what directions it should give to the tenants of its lands.