During the 1960s and 1970s, various developments such as the search for oil in Arctic waters placed increasing pressure on the lands, resources, and cultures of the Arctic. These pressures, in combination with increased action by various Inuit groups in Canada, the United States, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Greenland, led to the founding meeting of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference in Barrows, Alaska, in 1977. In 1984, the organization gained the status of a United Nations non-governmental organization. Dedicated to uniting the Inuit peoples of the world, the three major priorities of the conference included: 1) making national and international policies sensitive to protection of the Arctic environment and to Inuit culture and society; 2) asserting greater Inuit control over the daily lives of the Inuit peoples; and 3) promoting world peace. The creation of the territory of Nunavut is one of the most recent successes in regards to achieving greater control for Inuit by Inuit. The conference's interest in world peace stems from the unique perspective Northern peoples had on the Cold War. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference has worked with the UN Working Group on Indigenous Peoples and contributed to the draft of the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples. An indication of Canada's recognition of the Arctic region and its importance was the 1990 appointment of Mary Simon as the country's first ambassador for circumpolar affairs.

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