The Inuit -Inuktitut(the language they speak) for “the people”- are an indigenous people of the Arctic and subarctic regions of North America (parts of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland). The ancestors of the present-day Inuit are culturally related to Iñupiat (northern Alaska), and Yupik (Siberia and western Alaska), and the Aleut who live in the Aleutian Islands of Siberia and Alaska. The word “Eskimo” has been used to encompass the Inuit and Yupik, and other indigenous Alaskan and Siberian peoples, but this usage is in decline. Traditionally, the Inuit were hunters and gatherers who moved seasonally from one camp to another. The traditional lifestyle of the Inuit is adapted to extreme climatic conditions; their essential skills for survival are hunting and trapping, as well as the construction of fur clothing. Hunting became the core of the culture and cultural history of the Inuit. They used harpoons and bows and arrows to take down animals of all sizes. Thus, the everyday life in modern Inuit settlements, established only some decades ago, still reflects the 5,000-year-long history of a hunting culture that allowed the Inuit and their ancestors to populate the Arctic.
An Inuit man warms up his wife’s feet in Greenland, 1890s. Photo by Robert E. Peary.
Inuit life, 1949: Helen Konek is pictured walking into her igloo in Arviat, Nunavut, on the western shores of Hudson Bay, Canada.
Inuit Girl with Canadian Eskimo Dog, 1949.
The photograph shows the portrait of an Inuit girl, Nancy Columbia, and her dog. (1904) Photo taken by Gerhard Sisters.
King Island Inuit woman wearing a cross around her neck and child on her back, King Island, Alaska, between 1915 and 1925
Inuit man, Kingnuck, of the Kinepetoo tribe, Fullerton Harbour, Nunavut, February 5, 1905. (Photo by Geraldine Moodie)
Inuit mother and child in Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska 1927
1924: An Inuit family building an igloo, Alaska.
Portrait of Inuit Woman, Kootucktuck, in her beaded attigi, Fullerton Harbour, Nunavut, 1905. (Photo by Geraldine Moodie)
Kenowun, an Inuit woman wearing jewelry. Nunivak Island, Alaska, 28 February 1929
An Inuk toddler in full furs holding onto a sled, taken likely in Greenland circa 1921 as a part of Knud Rasmussen’s Fifth Thule expedition. (Credit: Polar in History).
An Inuit woman with long hair, Nome, Alaska between 1890s.
Inuit basket maker, King Island, Alaska. (Photo taken somewhere between 1915 and 1925).
An Inuit family in front of their summer home, 1915.
Inuit man, Toopealock, of the Kinepetoo, Fullerton Harbour, Nunavut, c.1904-05. (Photo by Geraldine Moodie)