Inuit People

Inuit People THE INUIT PEOPLE The Inuit are the northernmost inhabitants of North America. The name INUIT and Eskimo is given to the population of the Arctic region and the region from eastern Siberia to Greenland. The Inuit have been called Eskimo but they really do prefer to be called Inuit. The word Inuit means, people who are alive at this time.

Inuit also refers to the group of people of Eskimoid ancestry, which live in northern Canada.The word Eskimo means eaters of raw meat – and in today’s time it is insulting to use the term. Eskimo is a word that comes from the CREE. It is a term that honors the ability of this group of people to survive in a harsh climate, living on the products of the hunt alone.

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There were several different Eskimoid cultures that came to the Canadian Arctic at different times. Some of the names for the early culture were the Paleo-Eskimo, Arctic Small-Tool Tradition (which included the Independence I, Pre-Dorset, Denbigh Flint Complex – which was from Alaska), and Saqqaq (which were from Greenland).By 1700 BC, the Pre-Dorset Inuit were established in Northern Hudson Bay, the Hudson Strait, and Fox Basin. They used snow houses, and soapstone lamps, bows, toggling harpoon heads, and fish and bird spears. The Pre-Dorset Inuit used dogs for packing and hunting.

The Inuit at this time did not use them for pulling sleds. The Dorset Inuit had to change their techniques of a way of life based on seal and mammal hunting because around 1800 BC the climate in the Arctic became colder. The Inuit of the eastern Arctic have long known these people as the Tuint.

From the early days of the Pre-Dorset and Dorset people who moved across the Arctic in the first millennium BC have left a record of their art. They made beautiful ivory carvings out of walrus tusks and whale-bones. Around the time of 1000 AD a warming trend allowed the bowhead whales to migrate along the Arctic coast. A new group, were following the whales and they were called the Thule people. The Thule lived in villages up to 100 people and created semi-subterranean winter houses.These houses used whale-bone for the roof supports.

The Thule used umiaks, which are large walrus-skin boats, kayaks, and dogsleds. They had many special tools for whale, walrus, and seal hunting. Another cooling trend occurred around 1600-1850 AD, which brought back ice to the summer Arctic and the bowhead whales no longer came along the cast. It was at this time, that the Thule people had to change. The modern Inuit were from 1600 AD to the present. The Thule people did change, by learning to hunt for smaller prey like seals, walrus and caribou. They lived in much smaller groups and leaned how to migrate.The Inuit loved their traditional lifestyle but they have always hated the cold.

All of their knowledge and technology within their group of people is geared towards combating the cold. During the Arctic winter, a long period of time that is barely lit by the sun a few hours a day, the land is covered with ice and snow. The Inuit usually would return to the same bay, where they had hunted the previous year. The most difficult task was locating the ice holes where seals would come to breathe.Inuit traditionally love the warm weather, and would rather been able to settle where it was warmer. But due to other powers, of which they had no control off, they settled in the Arctic and made the best of it.

Not all Inuit would eat raw meat. Meat that had been imported from the South {beef, chicken, and pork} is never eaten raw since bacteria and parasites seem to be on the increase in warm, humid climates. But in the North, it is like one big refrigerator! The dead animals seem to freeze upon contact with the air – and this slows down the process of bacteria and rot.Inuit eat their meat only soon after its been killed. Frozen meat is called quaq. Medical science has proven that eating animals raw enabled the Inuit to get large quantities of vitamins and minerals, which are stored in the animal tissue.

The traditional cooking process had destroyed much of the vitamins in the meat. Meat eaten a quaq gives a kind of ruch feeling and produces a great amount of body heat.The Inuit cooking process with meat was boiling – like when you make soups or stews. This diet has been credited to the Inuit health and longevity and many other groups that settled in the North adapted this diet. They avoided scurvy by eating raw meat, which is packed with Vitamin C. The also would eat the rumen contents of the caribou, and organ meats of sea mammals, which is also full of vitamin C. Some Inuit today, hunt for a living, but this is what they refer to as career hunting, which is regulated by territorial law.

Part of the kills goes to the hunter’s family and friends and then the rest of it goes to export to the South.The hunting lifestyle is tied to Inuit culture – it used to be okay that everyone could hunt. The Inuit traveled in groups of forty or fifty people, including children. Each group would have about ten to fifteen hunters.

They had no chief, but a leader, usually the most experienced would take charge of the hunt. The Inuit used to hunt for food and tools.Today they only hunt for food and also money to pay for bills, taxes, and rent. The Inuit followed a way of life that is different with Indian population south of the treeline. They lived to the North which is the Arctic and Sub-Arctic region. The Inuits did not move to the South along mountain chains or along the Mackenzie River. They did not do this because these Southern regions were already inhabited with the Dene and other Indian groups.

These groups of Indians were very aggressive when they were defending their territories, and the Inuit avoided them by staying to the North. The best known Inuit settlement is one found in the central portion of the Canadian Arctic. It involves the people spending the winters in temporary snowhouse communities out on the sea-ice while hunting for seals. Eskimos have always existed in Alaska and they followed a different way of life.

The Eskimos would live in permanent semi-subterranean houses rather than snowhouses.Fish is the most single important food resource to the Alaskan Eskimo, where seals were the most important to the Inuit. Inuit who lived above the treeline used to live in many different constructions changing with the seasons. When the right consistency of snow was available they would construct an igluvigag – which means a snowhouse. When a snow house is constructed properly it is insulated and windproof.

A special quality of porous snow must be used in the building process. Choosing the snow requires proper training and experience.An iglusigag can vary in design and use. A small snow house can be constructed by a hun …