Inuit Culture, Traditions, and History

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  • Topic: Inuit, Northwest Territories, Arctic
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  • Published : October 31, 2012
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Inuit Culture, Traditions, and History

Traditional Inuit way of life was influenced by the harsh climate and stark landscapes of the Arctic tundra– from beliefs inspired by stories of the aurora to practicalities like homes made of snow. Inuit invented tools, gear, and methods to help them survive in this environment. Geography

Inuit communities are found in the Arctic, in the Northwest Territories, Labrador and Quebec in Canada, above tree line in Alaska (where people are called the Inupiat and Yupik), and in Russia (where people are called the Yupik people). In some areas, Inuit people are called “Eskimos” however many Inuit find this term offensive. The word “Inuit” means “the people” in the Inuktitut language. Inuit Homes

In the tundra, where Inuit communities are found, there are not many building materials. No trees grow in the tundra so houses can not be made from wood unless it is transported from elsewhere. However, during a large part of the year, the cold part, there is a lot of snow in the tundra. And it turns out that snow can be a very good construction material. In the winter, Inuit lived in round houses made from blocks of snow called "igloos". In the summer, when the snow melted, Inuit lived in tent-like huts made of animal skins stretched over a frame. Although most Inuit people today live in the same community year-round, and live in homes built of other construction materials that have to be imported, in the past Inuit would migrate between a summer and winter camp which was shared by several families. Getting Around

To travel from one place to another, Inuit used sleds made of animal bones and skins pulled over the snow and ice by dogs. Strong dogs with thick fur like huskies, bred by Inuit, were used. On the waters of the Arctic Ocean, small boats called “kayaks” were used for hunting while larger boats called “umiaq” transported people, dogs, and supplies. Finding Food

Because Inuit live in places where most plants cannot grow, the...
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