Naaja Nathanielsen

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Naaja H. Nathanielsen in 2023

Naaja Nathanielsen (born 6 December 1975) is a Greenlandic politician of the Inuit Ataqatigiit party. She was a member of the Inatsisartut (the Greenlandic parliament) from 2009 to 2016, and was re-elected in 2021. She has been the director of Greenland's department of prisons and probation from 2016, and became minister for natural resources in 2021. In her role as minister for natural resources, she banned uranium mining. She is a feminist, and has spoken against domestic violence in the country.

Early life[edit]

Naaja Nathanielsen was born on 6 December 1975.[1]


Naaja Nathanielsen served in the Inatsisartut from 2009 to 2016.[1] She was a member of Inuit Ataqatigiit, but became an independent in 2016 before her departure from the legislature;[2] she said she left the party due to not being consulted for policy changes.[3] She ran again for the Inatsisartut in 2021 with the Inuit Ataqatigiit party.[3] She was re-elected.[4]

She has served as the director of the department of prisons and probation since 2016.[5] In 2021, she became the country's minister for natural resources.[5] In her position, she approved an expansion of mining—including to explore the extent of subterranean radioactive elements—but refused to allow uranium mining.[5] She has proposed a total ban on uranium exploitation; such a ban required a bill from the Inatsisartut to be passed,[6] and the ban is now in effect.[7] While she has sought out legal assessments for the ban on uranium mining, she has refused to share them when asked.[8] She also revoked the license of a Chinese company to mine iron near Nuuk, saying the company failed to meet deadlines related to pay and activity.[7]

She is a feminist, and has argued that there are extensive divisions of power in politics as a result of patriarchy.[9] She has argued that violence against women in Greenland is not attributable only to alcohol abuse since violence "is happening to women more than to men".[10] While she believes that there are similarities among all Inuit peoples, she believes that calls for Inuit self-determination in Greenland—such as Greenlandic independence—are problematic, since generalizing an Inuit worldview is not possible, even within the country.[11] She said that independence is the ultimate goal of her work, "in some form or another", while continuing to work toward a "broader or wider deal with Denmark" in the meantime.[12] Ultimately, she said, "self-determination is about freedom from violence and [from] fear of violence".[13]




  • Brøns, Malik (16 August 2021). "Naaja Nathanielsen om borgermøder: Det bliver samme som sidst, bare med os" [Naaja Nathanielsen on citizen meetings: It will be the same as last time, just with us]. KNR (in Danish). Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  • Gronholt-Pedersen, Jacob (22 November 2021). "Greenland strips Chinese mining firm of licence to iron ore deposit". Reuters. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  • Kuokkanen, Rauna Johanna (2019). Restructuring relations: Indigenous self-determination, governance, and gender. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190913281.
  • Kuokkanen, Rauna Johanna (2021). "Holding ourselves responsible: Dismantling the binary between violence against women and self-determination in indigenous communities". In Sleeper-Smith, Susan; Ostler, Jeff; Reid, Joshua L. (eds.). Violence and indigenous communities: Confronting the past and engaging the present. Northwestern University Press. ISBN 9780810142961.
  • Nathansen, Bibi (1 March 2021). "Naaja Nathanielsen stiller op for IA" [Naaja Nathanielsen is running with IA]. KNR (in Danish). Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  • Veirum, Thomas Munk (2 December 2021). "Notat om uran-erstatning forbliver hemmeligt" [Notes on uranium remain secret]. Sermitsiaq.AG (in Danish). Retrieved 4 December 2021.
  • "Naaja Nathanielsen". Naalakkersuisut. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  • "Naaja færdig med IA" [Naaja finished with IA]. Nanoq Media (in Danish). 4 March 2016. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  • "Greenland says yes to mining but no to uranium". Mineral Resources Authority. Naalakkersuisut. 7 May 2021. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  • "Qinerneqartut siniisussallu". Qinersineq (in Kalaallisut). Retrieved 3 December 2021.