Fidelia Speidel

Inuit People of Canada
Pronunciation: INN-oo-eht
Alternative Names: Eskimo
Location: Canada, Greenland, United States, Alaska, Aleutian Islands, Russia, Siberia.
Population: 90,000
Language: Inuktitut
Religion: Traditional animism; Christianity

LocationThe Inuit people of Canada mostly live along the far northern seacoasts of Russia, the United States, Canada, and Greenland. Together there are more than 100,000 Inuit, most of whom live south of the Arctic Circle. The majority, about 46,000, live in Greenland. There are approximately 30,000 on the Aleutian Islands and in Alaska, 25,000 in Canada, and 1,500 in Siberia. The Inuit homeland is one of the regions of the world least hospitable to human habitation. Most of the land is flat, barren tundra where only the top few inches of the frozen earth thaw out during the summer months. The majority of Inuit have always lived near the sea, hunting aquatic mammals such as seals, walrus, and whales.

arctic.gif This is map of the Arctic Circle where most of the Inuit people where located.

Inuit-land-map.jpgMost Inuit mostly lived in the North part of Canada since that was the less inhabited part of Canada.

external image canada_physical_map.jpg This is a map of the physical features of Canada.

external image map_climate.jpgThis is a Climate map of Canada.

Early History of the Inuit Peoples.1000
The Inuit are the descendants of what anthropologists call the Thule culture, who emerged from western Alaska around 1000 AD and spread eastwards across the Arctic. Inuit legends speak of the Tuniit as "giants", people who were taller and stronger than the Inuit.

Early contact with Europeans1900
The European arrival but greatly damaged the Inuit way of life, causing mass death through new diseases introduced by whalers and explorers, and enormous social disruptions caused by the distorting effect of Europeans. Nonetheless, Inuit society in the higher latitudes had largely persisted in isolation in the 19th century.

Early twentieth century1920
In the early years of the 20th century, Canada, with its more hospitable lands largely settled, began to take a greater interest in its more peripheral territories, especially the fur and mineral rich hinterlands. By the late 1920s, there were no longer any Inuit who had not been contacted by traders, missionaries or government agents. In 1939, the Supreme Court of Canada found in Re Eskimos that the Inuit should be considered Indians and were thus under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

Biome & Fauna

Map of the Prairies ecozone
Map of the Prairies ecozone

The Prairies cover the south of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

The Prairies are the northernmost branch of the Great Plains of North America and the most altered of the ecozones. The mountains to the west block much of the precipitation that would otherwise fall. That and the high winds make this ecozone very dry, although precipitation does generally increase towards the east. Temperatures are extreme due to the lack of access to the ocean's buffering. Winter temperatures average -10ºC and summers average 15ºC.

Geology and Geography
Canola fields in the Prairies
Canola fields in the Prairies
Glaciation has left its mark on the Prairies, flattening the landscape and leaving deposits from inland seas left behind by melting glaciers. These deposits are now the fertile plains that largely define the Breadbasket of Canada. Huge numbers of small temporary wetlands form in years with high precipitation. Gas and oil is plentiful in the region.

Flora and Fauna
Almost 95% of the Prairies have been converted into farmland, with predictable effects on the original plant populations. Trees and shrubs are most commonly found in the eastern region. Trees found in the Prairies include white spruce, black spruce, balsam fir, tamarack, water birch, Bebb willow, peachleaf willow, wolf willow, lodgepole pine, box elder, choke cherry, black cottonwood, eastern cottonwood, bur oak, trembling aspen, and balsam poplar. Just a few of the other plants that grow here are spear grass, wheat, blue grama grass, sagebrush, yellow cactus, prickly pear, buckbrush, chokecherry, Saskatoon berry bush, alkali grass, wild barley, red sampire, sea blite, Parry oat grass, June grass, yellow bean, sticky geranium, bedstraw, chickweed, needle grass, thread grass, snowberry, American silverberry, rose, silverberry, dryland sedge, black hawthorn, greasewood, plains lark, death camas, wild lupine, smooth aster, prairie sedge, and cattail.

The widespread alteration of the natural habitat has resulted in diminished populations and ranges of many animals, and the Prairies contain a disproportionate number of threatened and endangered species.

The only large carnivore in the Prairies is the black bear. Large herbivores include white tail deer(a recent invader), mule deer, pronghorn antelope, elk and moose. Small carnivores include coyote, badger, red fox, long tail weasel, mink, river otter, black-footed ferret and striped skunk. Rodents are numerous, such as the
black-tailed prairie dog, white-tailed jack rabbit, snowshoe hare,Richardson’s ground squirrel, Franklin’s ground squirrel, thirteen-lined ground squirrel, least chipmunk, northern pocket gopher, olive-backed pocket mouse,Ord's kangaroo rat, white-footed mouse and beaver.

Some of the birds of prey are the
ferruginous hawk, red-tailed hawk, Swainson’s hawk, burrowing owl, northern saw-whet owl, short-eared owl, long-eared owl, and turkey vulture. Songbirds include black-billed magpie, northern oriole, Audubon’s warbler, grasshopper sparrow, lark sparrow, ruby-throated hummingbird, cedar waxwing, lark bunting, chestnut-collared longspur, and black-billed cuckoo. Birds of the forest that are found here include ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, sage grouse, northern flicker, downy woodpecker, red-headed woodpecker, and western meadowlark. Some of the waterfowl found here are the American avocet, great blue heron, snow goose, Canada goose, northern pintail, blue-winged teal, mallard, gadwall, redhead, western grebe, lesser scaup, ring-necked duck, canvasback, Eskimo curlew, piping plover, and whooping crane.

Reptiles and Amphibians
Among the amphibians that can be found here are the northern leopard frog, striped chorus frog, plains spade foot, American Toad, Great plains toad and tiger salamander. The area has several species of snakes and lizards, including the plains garter snake, gopher snake, western rattlesnake, western terrestrial garter snake, short horned lizard and prairie skink.

Predatory fish in the Prairie waterways include northern pike, carp, and sauger. They prey on such fish as the lake whitefish, goldeye, lake chub, brassy minnow, emerald shiner and yellow perch.


Just a few of the insects are the German cockroach, boreal spittlebu, silver-spotted skipper, spring azure, American copper, monarch butterfly, mourning cloak, eastern black swallowtail, migratory grasshoper, and pallid-winged grasshopper.

Three of the mollusc species in the Prairies are the valve snail, um bilicate promenetus and globular pea clam.

The Prairies are the most altered of the ecozones. Agriculture covers almost all of the land, and almost none of the original ecosystems are left aside from tiny remnants. Despite the huge amounts of land given over to farming, farmers comprise less than 10% of the four million people, and 80% of the population lives in urban areas. Mining and services are the employers of most of the population.

Canola field
Canola field
Canola field

Drumheller badlands
Drumheller badlands
Drumheller badlands
Near Camrose, Alberta
Near Camrose, Alberta
Near Camrose, Alberta

The Inuit People of Canada believed that they had no government. They also had no conceptional of either private property or ownership of land. They actually had a very sophisticated concepts of private property and land ownership.

The Inuit people of Canada based their economy on fishing and shrimping. The Inuit traded many things because back then they did not use money. The Inuit would trade some of their technology. But they would only trade what they had a lot of. In return they would get things from other tribes that the Inuit did not have. They could trade many things to other tribes that did not have them. They would trade things such as dolls, guns, sleds, fish, and food. They would trade things to other tribes not just because they had a lot of things but they wanted to help them out. For example, they could trade a kayak to help tribes with transportation.


Today most Inuit live a settled existence in villages and towns. They obtain wage employment or receive some form of social assistance. Major employers include the government, the oil and gas industry, and the arts and crafts industry. In addition, many Inuit are still involved in subsistence hunting and fishing at some level.


Crafts & Hobbies
Traditional Inuit arts and crafts mostly involve etching decorations on ivory harpoon heads, needlecases, and other tools. Over the past decades, the Inuit have became famous for their soapstone, bone, and ivory carvings, as well as their prints and pictures. Another artistic tradition is the creation of elaborate wooden masks.
Inukshuk, towers of stone in the form of a human, were built as landmarks or as decoys for herds of caribou.


The Inuit enjoy games that enable them to display their physical strength, such as weightlifting, wrestling, and jumping contests. They also play a ball game that is similar in many ways to American football. Ice hockey is popular as well.

Most Inuit children ski or ride snowmobiles to get to and from school. They are taught standard subjects, including math, history, spelling, reading, and the use of computers. However, Inuit teachers are also concerned that the students learn something about their culture and traditions.

Traditional Inuit clothing was perhaps the most important single factor in ensuring survival in the harsh Arctic environment. Its ability to keep the wearer alive in sub-zero temperatures was of prime importance. The Inuit made all their clothing from various animal skins and hides. In winter they wore two layers of caribou skin clothing. The outer layer had the fur facing out, while the fur of the inner layer faced in. The outer garment was a hooded parka.

Today a variety of shops sell modern Western-style clothing to the Inuit. Like their counterparts in cultures throughout the world, young people favor jeans, sneakers, and brightly colored sportswear. However, both old and young still rely on traditional Inuit gear when confronting the elements in any extended outdoor activity.

Belief Systems

Christianity, first introduced by missionaries, has largely replaced traditional Inuit religious practices. However, many of native religious beliefs still exist.

Many traditional Inuit religious customs were intended to make peace with the souls of hunted animals, such as polar bears, whales, walrus, and seals. The Inuit also beloved that their loved ones and the spirits would come to life as the Northern Lights


The Inuit believed evil spirits control nature. Inuit people follow rules that the spirits send. Inuit believed in the wind, weather the sun and the moon. There was Sedna. She is the most important Spirit to the Inuit because she controls creatures of the sea. The Inuit always try to please her.

When Inuit die they are wrapped in animal skins. Inuit try to please the spirits so the spirits don’t punish the Inuit. The Inuit like to play games especially in the winter. They played games like AjaaQ, Nullattartuq, unummijuk, Arsaarartuq, Qumuaqataijut, Ajjagatuk, Ajutatut, Kilauuatut, kalivititatutqnd, Lukitatuk.

Some of the Inuit people began living in small groups. They live in small communities these days. They sometimes get into larger groups to hunt seals. Some Inuit women or maybe all Inuit women are great at sewing kayak covers. Inuit treasure their children and rarely punish them.

The traditional Inuit dietary staples were seal, whale, caribou, walrus, polar bear, arctic hare, fish, birds, and berries. Because they ate raw food, and every part of the animal, the Inuit did not lack vitamins, even though they had almost no vegetables to eat. With the introduction of modern Western-style food, including fast food, over the past two to three decades, the Inuit diet has changed, and not for the better. The consumption of foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates has resulted in tooth decay and other diet-related medical problems.

A tradional bread, bannock, was made while trapping or living in camps. The dough could be wrapped around a stick and cooked over an open fire. A recipe for bannock that can be prepared in an oven accompanies this article.

Art & Architecture

Now the Inuit live in houses but they cannot build a downstairs because of permafrost. They still make igloos when they go hunting. They still build tupeks in the summer, too.

The Inuit used to live in igloos and tupeks. Tupeks have animal skins on the top. There are sticks inside and rocks to hold the tupek up. Igloos are just ice blocks. Up to 20 people can go in an igloo. Some igloos are connected so more people can be in them.

Musical Instruments



Social Problems
Social problems include unemployment, underemployment, alcoholism, drug abuse, and a high suicide rate.


At traditional Inuit gatherings, drumming and dancing provide the chief form of entertainment. Quiet evenings at home are spent carving ivory or bone, or playing string games like cat's cradle. A traditional Inuit game similar to dice is played on a board, using pieces in the shape of miniature people and animals. The Inuit also enjoy typical modern forms of recreation such as watching television and videos.



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