Who are the Inuit?
The Inuit. Together with the Indians, were the first inhabitants of Canada. Today about 25,000 Inuit live in Canada and most of them live in the Arctic area. “Inuit” means “the people” in Inuktitut, their native tongue. The Inuit do not like to be called “Eskimos” because “Eskimo” is a Cree Indian word which means “eaters or raw meat” a term which the Inuit consider offensive.
The Inuit and the Nature
The Inuit have always lived in harmony with their environment. They respect nature and preserve the environment in good condition for their children. They are hunters and food-gatherers but they only hunt to feed and clothe themselves and they gather berries and seaweed to supplement their diet spring and summer.
The Inuit yearly cycle
The Inuit way of life has always followed a seasonal cycle. In autumn they used to move in land where the caribou live to get food and skins for clothing. In winter they spent all their time inside their “igloos”; they played games and sang their traditional songs. At the beginning of spring they started hunting seals through holes cut in the sea ice. When the ice melted, seal hunting became easier and the Inuit began to trade seal-skins. When the summer arrived, they started fishing once again. In June all the Inuit went out to gather birds’ eggs. June was called “mannit” or “egg month”.
Changed in the Inuit lifestyle
Today the Inuit lifestyle has been influenced by the European lifestyle of most Canadians. Now most Inuit live in wooden houses in small villages. They don’t carry out the traditional activities of hunting and fishing any longer because many wild animals and fish have been killed by pollution from modern towns.
The Inuit and Indian communities still try to maintain their original lifestyle and culture. They keep their own traditional songs ad dances alive and they pass on their legends to the younger generations through storytelling.