President Donald Trump expressed interest in buying Greenland, the world’s largest island. But Denmark's government and people in Greenland weren't too excited by the idea. “I hope it is a joke — to not just buy a country but also its people,” said Martin Lidegaard, a member of the Danish parliament. “This sounds like something from the era of slavery and colonial power, when you could just take over a country,” said Greenlander Else Mathiesen. Greenland’s fewer than 60,000 people govern themselves except for defense and foreign affairs which are still controlled by Denmark. Some Greenlanders are seeking full independence from Denmark.
Class discussion: What do you think of President Trump wanting to buy Greenland? How much of the United States was purchased from other nations? Did the people living in those territories have anything to say about being “sold” to another country? What happened to them and the land they lived on? If the United States could buy Greenland, could it also sell land and American citizens to another nation? Could it sell Puerto Rico back to Spain or Alaska back to Russia? How does any government actually come to “own” territory? Should any people be ruled by a government they cannot select for themselves?