People of the Canadian Arctic: the Inuits
Most Canadian tribes are known for their distinct cultures and ways of life. In the present time, these tribes remained unwavering in their beliefs and tradition, teaching us important values and lessons about their rich heritage.
The Arctic Inuit Culture
Commonly called ‘Eskimos,’ Inuit communities are shaped, adapted, and influenced by the extremely cold and icebound environment in which vegetation was almost nonexistent, trees were scarce, and fish, seal, and whale were the major food source.
As a result of these conditions, inuits invented tools, gear, and other methods to help them survive the cold environment. They even built suitable shelters made of ice called Igloos. Inuits are known for being able to not only survive in some of our planet’s harshest environments but indeed thrive, despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Eskimo or Inuit?
Inuits were initially called Eskimos, once erroneously thought to mean eaters of raw flesh, but the name is now believed to refer to snowshoes. The name Eskimo - widely used in reference books and other countries, is nevertheless considered by some Inuits to be offensive.
With many words sullied by the crimes of colonialism, not everyone agrees on what to do with the word Eskimo. Many Native Alaskans still refer to themselves as Eskimo.
But unless you're a native Inuit, the short answer is: You probably shouldn't use the word Eskimo.
The Inuit way of life
For years, Inuit people adhered to their culture of moving from place to place three to four times a year in search of the best spot for sustainable life. Because of this, Inuits were able to catch food and discover suitable resources for survival. For most Inuit groups, they most likely spend their winters inside their houses and only come out to hunt seals and fishes. In between, they’re on the hunt for whatever food nature provides.
They are dependent on their natural environment. In terms of religion, they’re likely to worship nature. Inuits believe that nature is controlled by powerful spirits and worship can pacify its anger. The responsibility to pray for blessing and guidance were mostly left to shamans - priests and medicine men/women for the tribe.
First Peoples of Canada: the Inuits
Many researchers believed that Inuits are the first tribe to predominantly live in Canadian Arctic. Adapting to survive cold weather, they were believed to live for many years, giving birth to other civilizations and tribes. Currently, the Inuits remained patriotic to their culture and ways of living.