Interesting Facts about the Inuit
For 5,000 years, the people and culture known throughout the world as Inuit have occupied the vast territory stretching from the shores of the Chukchi Peninsula of Russia, east across Alaska and Canada, to the southeastern coast of Greenland.
One pastime the Inuit children enjoyed was games. Children spent a lot of time outside playing tag or hide and seek or pretending to hunt. But there were other games for the young and old during the long, dark winter months, when there was little else to do.
The Inuit cosmos is ruled by no one. There are no divine mother and father figures. There are no wind gods and solar creators.
The Inuit made very clever things from the bones, antlers, and wood they had. They invented the harpoon, which was used to hunt seals and whales. They built boats from wood or bone covered with animal skins. They invented the kayak for one man to use for hunting the ocean and among the pack ice.
“Inuit” is the plural of “inuk” meaning “person”, and “Yupik” is a singular word meaning “real person” based on the root word “yuk” meaning “person”.
These traditional Inuit foods include arctic char, seal, polar bear and caribou — often consumed raw, frozen or dried. The foods, which are native to the region, are packed with the vitamins and nutrients people need to stay nourished in the harsh winter conditions.
Traditional Inuit clothing consisted of a parka, pants and mittens made from caribou or sealskin (worn in one or two layers according to the season), and up to four layers of footwear. Each garment was tailored to fit the individual.
The Arctic Games include many of the same games as in the Winter Olympics ( hockey, speed skating, and curling). However they also feature arctic sports such as dog mushing and snowshoeing along with traditional Inuit games like the Ear Pull, One Foot High Kick, Kneel Jump, Airplane, and Knuckle Hop.
Igloos were built with wind-blown snow that was easily shaped and compacted into blocks. The gaps left in the ground when the ice blocks were removed would serve as the base of the igloo structure. Such “snowbricks” would be laid in stacked circles until a dome was created.
The cold, harsh climate and the barren, treeless landscape of the Artic tundra resulted in Igloos or snow houses being built as their shelters. The Inuit people were skilled builders and made good use of the snow and ice found in their habitat which they used to make the igloo house.
Eating habits and food preparation. Searles defines Inuit food as mostly ” eaten frozen, raw, or boiled, with very little mixture of ingredients and with very few spices added.” Some preparations include: Akutaq: berries mixed with fat.
Igloos had no fires because there was not much firewood in the arctic. Some driftwood might have washed up on the shores, but if the Inuit did not live close to the sea, they would not have found it. One fire was shared between two families. Some longhouses had up to six fires.