Languages

  • Inuktitut (most common) & Inuinnaqtun
  • Iniktitut was traditionally an oral language, but is now written using characters called syllabics
  • Each region has its own dialect

Population

  • 155,000 Inuit worldwide
  • 50,485 in Canada, or in Inuit Nunaat --> Inuit Homeland , the region of land, ice and water stretching from Labrador, to the Northwest Territories
  • 24,635 in Nunavut
  • 56% are under the age of 24

History

The Inuit people are thought to have crossed the Beringia land bridge from Asia, and begun their slow migration from Alaska across the Arctic around 1000 years ago. It is believed that they pushed out a Paleo-Eskimo culture known as the Dorset. The Inuit had an advantage over them because they arrived with dogs, and larger weapons. The Inuit have their own languages, as well as a unique culture with intriguing traditions. They are distinct from all other aboriginal populations of the Americas.

Food

Due to the frozen climate of the arctic, farming plants and cattle were not viable options for food. Instead the Inuit relied, and still rely, on seals, caribou, fish, walrus, beluga whales, polar bear, birds and muskoxen for food, clothing, boats, shelter and many other necessities.

The Inuit are very careful not to waste anything or take more than they need.

Housing

Many Inuit lived a semi-nomadic lifestyle spending winters on the sea ice hunting seals, then moving to the coast each spring to catch seal and fish, and finally spending summers inland hunting for caribou. Inuit housing depended on time of year, location and supplies available. In winter, where snow was obtainable, Inuit built homes called igloos out of blocks of snow. These homes were very well insulated and protected families from the harsh environment. In summer, when the snow melted, Inuit families moved into tents made from animal hides.

Transportation

The Inuit used three main methods of transportation. When travelling on the sea and especially for hunting trips, they used small, agile seal skin boats called kayaks. Another style of boat they used were called a umiaks, which were larger and meant for carrying groups of people or families.

For travelling across land, the Inuit used komatiks, also known as dog sleds.

Today

Today, hunting and fishing are still important parts of Inuit lives, as well other activities such as canoeing, dog-sledding, quading, camping and snowmobiling, just to name a few. The Inuit are also known for being skilled artisans. Inuit carvings and figurines made of soapstone, animal bones, and ivory, are famous world-wide. Today Nunavut's largest industries include mining, tourism, fishing, hunting and trapping.

Rankin Inlet

On the western shore of Hudson Bay is Jordin's hometown of Rankin Inlet, or Kangiqliniq ("deep inlet"). Jordin grew up playing hockey on frozen lakes, camping and learning to hunt and fish with his dad. This town is so remote that it cannot be reached by car. It is the business and transportation hub of the Kivalliq Region and Nunavut's second largest community. For more information check out www.rankininlet.net, www.gov.nu.ca, www.nunavuttourism.com.