Canada concerned over Russian suspension of Arctic aboriginal group

The Canadian Press

Canada is expressing concern about Russia's decision to shut down a group that represents its northern aboriginals at international meetings.

The Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North was one of six groups that represent aboriginal people on the Arctic Council.

The association represents 300,000 Russian aboriginals and has a history of environmental and self-government advocacy in that country.

The government's move comes just months before Canada begins a two-year stint as head of the council.

Observers say it could pose a sticky diplomatic problem for Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's representative on the council and an Inuk herself.