The features of the inuit society

Sydney Jones Overview Once known as Eskimos, the Inuit inhabit the Arctic region, one of the most forbidding territories on earth. Occupying lands that stretch 12, miles from parts of Siberia, along the Alaskan coast, across Canada, and on to Greenland, the Inuit are one of the most widely dispersed people in the world, but number only about 60, in population.

The features of the inuit society

The word "Eskimo" was bestowed upon these hardy, resourceful hunters by their neighbors, the Algonquin Indians of eastern Canada. It means "eaters of raw meat.

The features of the inuit society

Major changes in Inuit life and culture occurred during the Little Ice Age —when the climate in their homelands became even colder. European whalers who arrived in the latter part of the nineteenth century had a strong impact on the Inuit.

The Westerners introduced Christianity. They also brought with them infectious diseases that substantially reduced the Inuit population in some areas. When the whaling industry collapsed early in the twentieth century, many Inuit turned to trapping. Wherever they live, the Inuit today are much involved in the modern world.

They have wholeheartedly adopted much of its technology, as well as its food, clothing, and housing customs. Their economic, religious, and government institutions have also been heavily influenced by mainstream culture.

All told, there are more thanInuit, most of whom live south of the Arctic Circle. The majority, about 46, live in Greenland.

There are approximately 30, on the Aleutian Islands and in Alaska, 25, in Canada, and 1, in Siberia. The Inuit homeland is one of the regions of the world least hospitable to human habitation.

Most of the land is flat, barren tundra where only the top few inches of the frozen earth thaw out during the summer months. The majority of Inuit have always lived near the sea, hunting aquatic mammals such as seals, walrus, and whales.

Inupik speakers are in the majority and reside in an area stretching from Greenland to western Alaska. Speakers of Yupik inhabit a region consisting of southwestern Alaska and Siberia.

It turned black in the course of a deal it made with the loon. The two birds agreed to tattoo each other but ended up in a soot-flinging match that turned the loon gray and the raven black.


However, many of native religious beliefs still linger. Many traditional Inuit religious customs were intended to make peace with the souls of hunted animals, such as polar bears, whales, walrus, and seals. Traditionally, a feast called a potlatch was held whenever a new totem pole was raised.

The Inuit who held the potlatch would often give away his most valuable possessions at the ceremony.In traditional Inuit society the healing of the sick was the responsibility of the shaman or a ngakok, who contacted spirits by singing, dancing, and drum beating.

He would take on the evil spirit of the sick. Shamans, however, proved helpless against the diseases brought by the Europeans and Americans. Unlike many aboriginal cultures, traditional Inuit society was not based on the tribal unit. Instead, the basic social unit was the extended family, consisting of a man and wife and their unmarried children, along with their married sons and their families.

Inuit / Eskimo Society

Upcoming Inuit Art Society Annual Meetings Our annual meetings feature native Inuit artists from Canada, knowledgeable speakers about Inuit art and culture, field trips to private collections, a museum or other relevant points of interest, and always ample time to meet other Inuit art enthusiasts.

The Inuit’s view of life Belief in spirits and myths has permeated the Inuit mindset and has helped sustain life and social order. This was the answer to the question of life and its many mysteries given by an old man from East Greenland who lived many years ago.

The culture and technology of Inuit society that served so well in the Arctic were not suited to subarctic regions, so they did not displace their southern neighbors. Inuit had trade relations with more southern cultures; boundary disputes were common and gave rise to aggressive States (primarily Alaska): 16, ().

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Inuit - Introduction, Location, Language, Folklore, Religion, Major holidays, Rites of passage