Greenland

The Danish Royal Greenland Trade Company (KGH) held a monopoly on trade in Greenland from the late 18th century until the 1950s. This exclusive relationship ostensibly protected the Inuit population from disease and exploitation, and controlled prices; it also guaranteed high profits for the Danes (Gull0v, 2003). The fur trade in Greenland was preceded by whale and seal fisheries. With the demise of the blubber and oil markets, cash income from seal and, to a lesser degree, fox skins became a primary source of cash income for Greenlanders, and kept the Inuit population in a state of dependence on trade (Holtved, 1967). In the 1920s, fishing overtook seal hunting as the primary occupation (Government of Greenland, 2000), but income from the sale of sealskins was still important for subsistence hunters. With the international antisealing campaign, low prices and demand led to a drop in processing of skins. The Home Rule government continued to subsidize the purchase of skins at stable prices despite large stockpiles through the 1990s; still the average price barely covered the cost of hunting (Dahl, 2000). In the early 1990s, Great Greenland, the fur company of the Greenland Home Rule government, bought a total of 77,000 sealskins annually and several hundred fox and polar bear skins. By the mid-1990s, the total number of all types of furs purchased dropped below 48 (Statistics Greenland, 1997), and China was the largest buyer. By 2000, prices and markets were beginning to improve (Great Greenland, 2003). Today, Great Greenland markets sealskin with a guarantee that it comes from adult seals (rather than the baby seals that fueled the animal rights campaign), and that buyers are "helping to maintain the ancient Inuit hunting tradition" (www.great-greenland.com/). After years of being victims of a proanimal, antinortherner campaign, Greenlanders and other fur producers are fighting back with their own politically correct marketing.

0 0

Post a comment