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Inuit

Inuit — Inuktitut for “the people” — are an Indigenous people, the majority of whom inhabit the northern regions of Canada. An Inuit person is known as an Inuk. The Inuit homeland is known as Inuit Nunangat, which refers to the land, water and ice contained in the Arctic region.

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Inuit

This collection explores Inuit culture, history and society through the use of exhibits, images, videos and articles. These sources also illustrate the importance of Arctic lands, animals and the environment to Inuit identity and life in the North.

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Arctic Indigenous Peoples in Canada

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. The Inuit refer to their homeland as Inuit Nunangat. In 2011, there were nearly 60,000 Inuit in Canada, 73 per cent of whom lived in Inuit Nunangat.

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Inuit Art

The history of Inuit cultures and the art of the various regions and times can only be understood if the myth of a homogeneous Inuit culture is discarded altogether. Though it has not been possible to determine the exact origin(s) of the Inuit, nor of the various Inuit cultures, five distinct cultures have been established in the Canadian area: Pre-Dorset , Dorset , Thule, Historic and Contemporary.

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Inuit Printmaking

While carving is a viable enterprise in most Inuit communities, printmaking requires special skills and sophisticated equipment to compete in an international market.

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Sadlermiut Inuit

Sadlermiut were the inhabitants of three islands in Hudson Bay: Southampton (Salliq), Coats and Walrus. The original Sadlermiut were annihilated by disease in 1902-03.

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Kayak

For over 2,000 years, the Inuit have used kayaks for traveling and hunting expeditions, except for the most northerly polar Inuit.

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Baffin Island Inuit

Baffin Island Inuit (also known as Nunatsiarmiut) are Indigenous peoples who live on Baffin Island, the largest island in the Arctic Archipelago and in the territory of Nunavut. According to the 2016 census, the total Inuit population in the Baffin region was 14,875.

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Project Surname

In 1970, the federal government undertook a program, known as Project Surname, to assign last names to Inuit in northern Canada.

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Canadian Inuit Dog

The Canadian Inuit dog (Canis familiaris borealis) is one of five Canadian dog breeds recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club. While the Club refers to this breed as the “Canadian Eskimo dog,” the Government of Nunavut calls it the Canadian Inuit dog and made it the territory’s official animal. In the Eastern Baffin dialect of Inuktitut the dog is called qimmiq (spelled Kimmik in other dialects). For hundreds of years, these dogs were used by the Inuit and their ancestors to pull sleds as a means of transportation. From the 1950s to the 1970s, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other government officials killed thousands of sled dogs, rendering the breed extinct. Since then a revitalization program has helped reestablish the Canadian Inuit dog. As of 2018, there are approximately 300 Canadian Inuit dogs registered with the Canadian Kennel Club.

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Sinnisiak

Sinnisiak (d c 1930) and Uluksuk (d 1924), Inuit hunters from the Coppermine region of the NWT, were the first Inuit to be tried for murder under Canadian law.

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Nunatsiavut

Nunatsiavut (meaning “our beautiful land” in Inuktitut) is the homeland of the Labrador Inuit (Labradormiut). The territory covers 72,520km2 of land and 44,030km2 of sea in the northern part of the Labrador Peninsula. On 1 December 2005, the Labrador Inuit celebrated the creation of the Nunatsiavut Government, their own regional government within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Labradormiut became the first Inuit in Canada to achieve self-government. Of the approximately 6,500 beneficiaries, about 2,500 live within the settlement area in five communities: Rigolet, Postville, Makkovik, Hopedale (the legislative capital) and Nain (the administrative capital).

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Tupiq

Historically, Inuit used a simple tent, known as a tupiq (the plural form is tupiit), while travelling or hunting during the summer months. Today, the traditional tupiq is rarely used (because modern variations have largely replaced it), but some Inuit elders and communities are working to keep the tupiq, and other Inuit traditions, alive. (See also  Architectural History of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.)

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Country Food (Inuit Food) in Canada

Country food is a term that describes traditional Inuit food, including game meats, migratory birds, fish and foraged foods. In addition to providing nourishment, country food is an integral part of Inuit identity and culture, and contributes to self-sustainable communities. Environmental and socioeconomic changes have threatened food security, making country food more expensive and difficult to harvest. Despite these challenges, the Inuit, in partnership with various levels of government and non-profit organizations, continue to work towards improving access to country food.