Greenland and legitimacy of white settlement?
April 15, 2016 Leave a comment
I wonder how long a population needs to be living in a region to be considered indigenous? And how thoroughly abandoned does a region need to be for it to be fairly up for grabs?
I’m mainly thinking of the Norse in Greenland, here. When they moved in originally, that part of Greenland was uninhabited and had been for quite some time, though the Dorset had been in the area previously. Was it thoroughly abandoned enough that they could reasonably claim it for themselves? I should find some books to read and get a better timeline on this than Wikipedia provides(I’m taking recommendations). If the Norse showed up the month after the Dorset left it could be entirely different than if they showed up a millennium after.
Does 500 years of continuous settlement, a couple hundred with a few failed expeditions trying to reestablish contact, and then another 300(to present) years of continuous settlement make Greenland, or at least Southern Greenland, legitimate white people land? Given it wasn’t entirely abandoned(the expeditions I just mentioned) after failure of the original settlement, did the Inuit have a right to move in during that period?
In any event, Greenland is probably the one place in North America where there’s even a debate. Lots of other places might be de facto white people land with insurmountable practical difficulties in righting the historical injustices that lead to that state of affairs*, but there might be an argument that Greenland is legitimate.
*- Insurmountable difficulties in fully righting them. It’s certainly possible to partially right them and to do more to prevent things from getting even more unjust, and those things should be done. We can’t fix everything our ancestors fucked up, but the least we can do is not make it worse.