The awesomeness of…the Inuits

An illustration of the Igloos and Inuits habitat

An illustration of the Igloos and Inuits habitat

The Inuits, better known as Eskimos are a pretty hardcore bunch, because they live in some of the most extreme conditions in the world, yet they have adapted and thrived in these harsh habitats.

The ancestors of the Inuits came across the Bering Land Bridge between the tip of Siberia and Alaska. Archaeologists have discovered occupied layers in Alaska dating back to 11,700 BC, at such sites as Broken Mammoth, Swan Point and Mead. Other travellers moved south and inhabited America, becoming the first Native Americans.

The Inuits history goes back into prehistory. The origin of their tradition lies in the Arctic Small Tool technology, which arrived along with land mammal hunters through the Bering Strait around 2,300 BC. This tool tradition, became the Norton tradition and eventually the common Thule tradition.

This culture is significant of the sea and land animals they used to hunt such as whales and caribou. They used materials such as animal skin and wood to create kayaks and open skin boats called umiaks.

They also made amazing statues and carvings out of bone, ivory, wood and more.

They also made harpoons (which aren’t cool, but killing one whale would give them resources for months!).

Their religion was based on animism – every person along with animals has a spirit. The most important Goddess was Sedna who lived in the sea.

Sculpture of Sedna

Sculpture of Sedna

Only Shamans were able to talk to or summon spirits. The Inuits believed the spirit of an animal was in the bladder. They would dispose this part of an animals back into the water, as the spirit would find a new body.

The same with humans, after a person died, their name and spirit could find a new body to inhabit, making them almost immortal.

Around AD 1000 the Inuits reached Greenland, where there are a lot of descendants still living today. They came into contact with Norsemen, but it wasn’t long before they went back to Scandinavia.

Their whaling techniques were used illustriously there, and they strived in the environment. However, European disease killed hundreds, if not thousands of Inuits and their population has decreased. Th Inuits who still live in conditions such as Alaska or Greenland, still manage to survive in this places, but there are few who still practice the traditions of old.

*I do not own these images

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