The indigenous peoples of the North American Arctic include the Eskimo (Inuit and Yupik/Yupiit) and Aleut; their traditional languages are in the Eskimo-Aleut family.
The Arctic culture area, a cold, flat, treeless region (actually a frozen desert) near the Arctic Circle in present-day Alaska, Canada and Greenland, was home to the Inuit and the Aleut. Both groups spoke, and continue to speak, dialects descended from what scholars call the Eskimo-Aleut language family.
The Inuit people live in the far northern areas of Alaska, Canada, Siberia, and Greenland. They originally made their home along the Alaskan coast, but migrated to other areas. Everything about the lives of the Inuit is influenced by the cold tundra climate in which they live.
Alaska Natives increasingly prefer to be known by the names they use in their own languages, such as Inupiaq or Yupik. “Inuit” is now the current term in Alaska and across the Arctic, and “Eskimo” is fading from use. The Inuit Circumpolar Council prefers the term “Inuit” but some other organizations use “Eskimo”.
Archaeologists and anthropologists now believe that people have lived in the Arctic for as much as twenty thousand years. The Inuit in Canada and Greenland, and the Yu’pik, Iñupiat, and Athabascan in Alaska, are just a few of the groups that are native to the Arctic.
There are over 40 different ethnic groups living in the Arctic. Map with fact boxes on Indigenous peoples who are permanent participants at the Arctic Council.
List of unrecognized groups claiming to be American Indian tribes
Many tribes survived the cold, harsh environment by hunting caribou, musk ox, bowhead whales, and even seals through the ice.
The Hopi are a Native American tribe who primarily live on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. As of the 2010 census, there are 19,338 Hopi in the United States.
The term ‘Eskimo’ Stricktly speaking, eskimos can also be regarded as native Americans, because what western people call ‘eskimos’ are actually the indigenous people inhabiting parts of the northern circumpolar region ranging from Siberia to parts of the Americas (Alaska and Canada).
These include the Arapaho, Assiniboine, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Comanche, Crow, Gros Ventre, Kiowa, Lakota, Lipan, Plains Apache (or Kiowa Apache), Plains Cree, Plains Ojibwe, Sarsi, Nakoda (Stoney), and Tonkawa.
Human habitation The largest communities north of the Arctic Circle are situated in Russia, Norway and one in Sweden: Murmansk (population 295,374), Norilsk (178,018), Tromsø (75,638), Vorkuta (58,133), Bodø (52,357), Harstad (24,703) and Kiruna (22,841).
Inuit ate only meat and fish. Lichens and moss were the only types of vegetation that grew in the Arctic. The Inuit people did not want to eat the lichens and moss right off the rocks.
The term Arctic peoples in Canada generally refers to the Inuit population, descendants of the Thule people, who lived in the Arctic from 400 to 1,000 years ago.