The historical trauma that my community has experienced is still with us today and manifests itself in the social ills of poverty. Yet, it is the rich culture provided by the wealth of the land and sea that defines the health of our community. Just as in Inupiaq times, when men and women, elders and youth had vital and equally important roles to play in the success of a community, we all have roles today. All of our institutions have roles to play.
Eskimo / Inuit Natives
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The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada, Russia, Greenland, and the United States.
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada (Northwest Territories, Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, Nunavut, Nunatukavut), Denmark (Greenland), Russia (Siberia) and the United States (Alaska).
Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language. An Inuk is singular for Inuit person, whereas Inuit is plural. The Inuit language is grouped under the Eskimo–Aleut languages.
The Inuit live throughout most of the Canadian Arctic and subarctic:
In the territory of Nunavut (“our land”)
In the northern third of Quebec, in an area called Nunavik (“place to live”)
The coastal region of Labrador, in areas called Nunatsiavut (“our beautiful land”) and Nunatukavut (“Our Ancient Land”)
In various parts of the Northwest Territories, mainly on the coast of the Arctic Ocean and formerly in the Yukon.
The Canadian Inuit are divided into eight main groups
The Labrador Inuit live on the Atlantic Coast of Labrador.
The Ungava or New Quebec Inuit live on Ungava Bay, on the south shore of Hudson Strait and east coast of Hudson Bay.
The Baffin Island Inuit live on Baffin Island in Nunavut.
The Igloolik, (or Iglulik), live on Western Baffin Island and Melville Peninsula. The name “Igloolik” means “there is an igloo here” in Inuktitut.
The Caribou Inuit take their name from the animal, which they are dependent on for almost all of their needs, including food, clothing, and shelter. They are located West of Hudson Bay.
The Netsilik Inuit live on the Arctic coast of Canada, west of Hudson Bay. Their name means “people of the place where there is seal.”
The Copper Inuit take their name from the fact that they use the copper deposits in their region extensively. They live on Banks and Victoria islands, and the mainland region of the central Arctic.
The Western Arctic Inuit were formerly known as the MacKenzie Inuit because they live in the MacKenzie River valley.
Collectively these areas are known as Inuit Nunangat.
In the U.S., Alaskan Inupiat live in two areas.
Alaskan Inuit are called Inupiat on the North Slope of Alaska and along the Siberian Coast, on Little Diomede Island.
In Russia, they live on Big Diomede Island.
Greenland’s Kalaallit are citizens of Denmark.
Is Eskimo or Inuit the correct terminology?
In Alaska, the term Eskimo is commonly used, because it includes both Yupik and Inupiat, while Inuit is not accepted as a collective term or even specifically used for Inupiat. No universal term other than Eskimo is inclusive of all Inupiat and Yupik peoples. While a small number of individuals may be offended by the term Eskimo and prefer their native tribal name, most Alaskans are not offended by usage of Eskimo.
In Canada , the Natives prefer the word Inuit. As they consider “Eskimo” pejorative, it has fallen out of favour. In Canada, the Constitution Act of 1982, sections 25 and 35 legally recognized the Inuit as a distinctive group of Canadian aboriginals, who are neither First Nations or Métis.In Greenland, they prefer to be called by their original native name, Kalaallit.
The Inuit were the last native people to arrive in North America.
All the good land to the south was already occupied by hostile Indians so they settled in the Arctic. Nobody else wanted it because it is one of the most extreme climates in the world.When the first Inuit arrived in North America, they brought dogs with them for hunting. Teams of these animals also became their primary method of travel. Today, most Inuit use snowmobiles and ATVs.
The languages of the Inuit can be divided into many different languages and dialects.
However, all of the Inuit languages come from one main language family: the Inuit-Aleut, also known as the Eskimaleut language family. The languages groups can be grouped into an Eastern branch and a Western branch, which can then be further divided into individual languages and dialects of those languages.
Eastern Branch (Inuktitut languages):
The Eastern Branch languages have three different names for the language.
Inuktitut (in Canada)
Inupiaq (in Alaska)
Kalaallisut (in Greenland)
There are three different names, but it is considered to be the same language.
There are also many dialects from this language branch spoken in the three countries.
Western Branch (Yupik languages):
Yupik is divided into three distinct languages.
Central Alaskan Yupik
Pacific Gulf Yupik (Alaska)
Siberian Yupik (Canada and Alaska)
Each of these three languages has several dialects as well.
The Inuktitut and Yupik languages are both quite hard to learn and speak, because they are very complex languages.
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