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The majority of Earth’s population will likely never set foot in the Arctic, yet most can imagine a basic geographic identity for the region. The dominant Arctic narratives work because they build off of our own accepted human-environment and socio-political relationships. This paper explores two narratives that help construct the mainstream Arctic identity in North America and the more nuanced narratives that are overlooked because of them. The narrative of a “new” ocean in the Arctic erases a long indigenous history of the region, but is easily adopted because of American definitions of wilderness that imagine a space devoid of humans. Drawing lines on a map creates regional identity but excludes other stakeholders from the Arctic discussion who do not fall within those geographic bounds. As the dialogue of the Arctic identity continues to evolve, it is imperative that we recognize these social constructs when entering onto the Arctic stage.
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- Imagining the Arctic
Supriti Jaya Ghosh