55 Facts About Inuit


Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic and subarctic regions of Greenland, Labrador, Quebec, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and Alaska.

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Inuit languages are part of the Eskimo–Aleut languages, known as Inuit-Yupik-Unangan, and as Eskaleut.

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Inuit Sign Language is a critically endangered language isolate used in Nunavut.

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Greenlandic Inuit are descendants of Thule migrations from Canada by 1100 CE.

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Inuit are the descendants of what anthropologists call the Thule people, who emerged from western Alaska around 1000 CE.

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Inuit legends speak of the as "giants", people who were taller and stronger than Inuit.

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Researchers believe that Inuit society had advantages by having adapted to using dogs as transport animals, and developing larger weapons and other technologies superior to those of the Dorset culture.

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In Canada and Greenland, Inuit circulated almost exclusively north of the "arctic tree line", the effective southern border of Inuit society.

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Inuit had trade relations with more southern cultures; boundary disputes were common and gave rise to aggressive actions.

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But, in the high Arctic, Inuit were forced to abandon their hunting and whaling sites as bowhead whales disappeared from Canada and Greenland.

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The Labrador Inuit have had the longest continuous contact with Europeans.

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Inuit do not appear to have interfered with their operations, but raided the stations in winter, taking tools and items made of worked iron, which they adapted to their own needs.

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Semi-nomadic Inuit were fishermen and hunters harvesting lakes, seas, ice platforms and tundra.

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Unlike most Aboriginal peoples in Canada Inuit did not occupy lands that were coveted by European settlers.

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In 1939, the Supreme Court of Canada found, in a decision known as Re Eskimos, that Inuit should be considered Indians and were thus under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

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Many of Inuit were systematically converted to Christianity in the 19th and 20th centuries, through rituals such as the Siqqitiq.

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The Inuit population was not large enough to support a full high school in every community, so this meant only a few schools were built, and students from across the territories were boarded there.

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Inuit began to emerge as a political force in the late 1960s and early 1970s, shortly after the first graduates returned home.

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The northern Labrador Inuit submitted their land claim in 1977, although they had to wait until 2005 to have a signed land settlement establishing Nunatsiavut.

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In 2011, Lawrence Kaplan of the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks wrote that "Inuit" was not generally accepted as a term for the Yupik, and "Eskimo" was often used as the term that applied to the Yupik, Inupiat, and Inuit.

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Inuit is the Eastern Canadian Inuit and West Greenlandic word for "the people".

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Since Inuktitut and Kalaallisut are the prestige dialects in Canada and Greenland, respectively, their version has become dominant, although every Inuit dialect uses cognates from the Proto-Eskimo *inu? – for example, "people" is inughuit in North Greenlandic and iivit in East Greenlandic.

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Finally, deaf Inuit use Inuit Sign Language, which is a language isolate and almost extinct as only around 50 people still use it.

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Stefansson observed that the Inuit were able to get the necessary vitamins they needed from their traditional winter diet, which did not contain any plant matter.

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The Inuit Tattoo Revitalization Project is a community that was created to highlight the revitalization of this ancient tradition.

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Inuit hunted sea animals from single-passenger, seal-skin covered boats called qajaq which were extraordinarily buoyant, and could be righted by a seated person, even if completely overturned.

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Inuit made umiaq, larger open boats made of wood frames covered with animal skins, for transporting people, goods, and dogs.

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The Inuit used stars to navigate at sea and landmarks to navigate on land; they possessed a comprehensive native system of toponymy.

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Also, Greenland Inuit created Ammassalik wooden maps, which are tactile devices that represent the coast line.

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The Inuit generally favored, and tried to breed, the most striking and handsome of dogs, especially ones with bright eyes and a healthy coat.

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The Inuit would perform rituals over the newborn pup to give it favorable qualities; the legs were pulled to make them grow strong and the nose was poked with a pin to enhance the sense of smell.

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Inuit industry relied almost exclusively on animal hides, driftwood, and bones, although some tools were made out of worked stones, particularly the readily worked soapstone.

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Inuit used the Cape York Meteorite as a primary resource of Iron, using a technique called cold forging, which consisted in slicing a piece of the meteorite and giving it shape by smashing it with rocks until getting the desired shape, for example tools for fishing.

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Division of labor in traditional Inuit society had a strong gender component, but it was not absolute.

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Inuit were hunter–gatherers, and have been referred to as nomadic.

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Virtually all Inuit cultures have oral traditions of raids by other indigenous peoples, including fellow Inuit, and of taking vengeance on them in return, such as the Bloody Falls massacre.

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However, evidence shows that Inuit cultures had quite accurate methods of teaching historical accounts to each new generation.

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In 1996, Dene and Inuit representatives participated in a healing ceremony to reconcile the centuries-old grievances.

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Inuit'storic accounts of violence against outsiders make it clear that there was a history of hostile contact within the Inuit cultures and with other cultures.

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Justice within Inuit culture was moderated by the form of governance that gave significant power to the elders.

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Pervasive European myth about Inuit is that they killed elderly and "unproductive people", but this is not generally true.

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Anthropologists believed that Inuit cultures routinely killed children born with physical defects because of the demands of the extreme climate.

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Inuit's was the best preserved body ever recovered in Alaska, and radiocarbon dating of grave goods and of a strand of her hair all place her back to about 1200 CE.

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The Inuit believed that the causes of the disease were of a spiritual origin.

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Environment in which the Inuit lived inspired a mythology filled with adventure tales of whale and walrus hunts.

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Some Inuit looked into the aurora borealis, or northern lights, to find images of their family and friends dancing in the next life.

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However, some Inuit believed that the lights were more sinister and if you whistled at them, they would come down and cut off your head.

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Inuit practiced a form of shamanism based on animist principles.

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The angakkuq of a community of Inuit was not the leader, but rather a sort of healer and psychotherapist, who tended wounds and offered advice, as well as invoking the spirits to assist people in their lives.

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Inuit religion was closely tied to a system of rituals integrated into the daily life of the people.

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Harshness and unpredictability of life in the Arctic ensured that Inuit lived with concern for the uncontrollable, where a streak of bad luck could destroy an entire community.

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The Inuit understood that they had to work in harmony with supernatural powers to provide the necessities of day-to-day life.

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Inuvialuit are western Canadian Inuit who remained in the Northwest Territories when Nunavut split off.

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The evidence suggested that the Inuit descend from the Birnirk of Siberia, who through the Thule culture expanded into northern Canada and Greenland, where they genetically and culturally completely replaced the indigenous Dorset people some time after 1300 AD.

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Inuit culture is alive and vibrant today in spite of the negative impacts of recent history.

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