ANT 101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
December 16, 2011
Kinship Systems: Inuit of the Artic
The Inuit people have adapted quite well living in the extreme cold of the artic. They live in the artic area of native North America. Commonly called “Eskimo”, their territory extends more than five thousand miles along the Arctic Circle from Russia, Alaska, and northern Canada to Greenland. They are a people who have learned how to use all resources available to them. Their social organization of the family is considered to be that of a “band” (the band can consist of the “nuclear family”, their children and children’s children and sometimes grandparents). Their background can be traced bilaterally (that is, from both parents) (Effland, 2003). There are three specific things that are unique to their existence. These are 1) The role of the Shaman (angakuk), 2) Their ability to use all the resources available to them, and 3) the way they share their food. The Shaman
As stated before, the people live in “bands” that consist of 60 to 300 members. Usually these bands consisted of smaller camps or settlements. The smallest group is considered the Nuclear family (the parents, their offspring, other relatives such as grandparents, newly married children and their spouses. They did not always live in harmony. When food was plentiful; all was great. Needless, to say, when food was scarce; life gave way to highly competitive, uncooperative behavior. One of the advantages of having so many in one household is that the work can be shared and not be up to one or two people. Today there are many nationalities that coexist with many generations under the same roof.
A second advantage is there would be more men to hunt for food and more women to reproduce and nurture the children. The women also had to go out and gather the plant food and berries. The third advantage is there would be more...