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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Hunting the Northern Character

Canadian politicians, like many of their circumpolar counterparts, brag about their country’s “Arctic identity” or “northern character,” but what do they mean, exactly? Stereotypes abound, from Dudley Do-Right to Northern Exposure, but these southern perspectives fail to capture northern realities. During decades of service as a legislator, mediator, and negotiator, Tony Penikett witnessed a new northern consciousness grow out of the challenges of the Cold War, climate change, land rights struggles, and the boom and bust of resource megaprojects. His lively account of clashes and accommodations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders not only retraces the footsteps of his hunt for a northern identity but tells the story of an Arctic that the world does not yet know.

348 pages

Table of Contents



1 Who, What, Where? Arctic Peoples and Places

2 Pawns: The Cold War

3 Born in the Northern Bush: Indigenous Government

4 No Settler Need Apply: The Arctic Council


5 What You Eat and Where You Live: Poverty in the North

6 Knowing Yourself: Education and Health

7 Underfoot: Resources, Renewable and Non-renewable


8 Arctic Security: Control or Cooperation?

9 Hungry Ghost: Climate Change

10 Boomers and Lifers: A New Divide

Notes; Bibliography; Index

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