Gatherers: There are almost no trees in the
Arctic. There are few plants. It is cold most of the year. The Inuit
could not become farmers. Like the other early people who lived in the
Arctic, they were hunters and gatherers. In the short summer, they
gathered berries, seaweed, and eggs. Their main food year around was
food was scarce, they could not live in the same place all the time.
They had to keep moving, following the herds. Of all the animals,
the caribou was the most important. It provided food and warm fur to
make clothes. They made thick gloves to protect themselves from the
sub-zero arctic weather. They rubbed noses to say hello instead of
Daily Life: The
Inuit life was a hard one. During the day, they hunted for food. At
night, the Inuit sheltered tent homes made of animals skins, or in ice
igloos, a skill they learned from the Central Eskimos. They made
spears, harpoons, and pipes. They carved animals from soft soapstone.
They found time storytelling. Songs that told tales of hunting and
hardship accompanied their stories.
Inuit believed in magical beings. They believed that all living things
had a spirit. Before a hunt, they offered gifts to the animal they
hoped to catch. These gifts were offered through the shaman.
They believed their shaman could talk to spirits. If the hunt was
successful, the shaman got the credit. If it was not successful, that
was the fault of the people - they had not been generous enough with
Finger Masks: The
Inuit women wore little masks on their fingers when dancing. This was
to help attract the attention of the many spirits in which they
Inuksuk is a stone landmark. In the arctic region, there are few
natural landmarks. But the people needed landmarks to know where they
were as they trekked across the snow and ice, in search of food. So,
these early people made landmarks out of piles of stones. You could
see them from some distance away. They were used as a form of
communication. A particular design might tell of good places to fish.
Other designs would alert others to hidden storages of food and warm
furs in case of need.
The Inuit consider all Inuksuks as sacred. Many
have been around for a very long time. Today, in Canada especially,
various Inuksuk designs serve as cultural symbols of the Inuit.
and hear the Inuit Creation Myth - the Raven
Museum Canada - The Inuit
Pairs - Java Game
Gods, Goddesses, Spirits
Presentations in PowerPoint format
Return to the Far
or to Native
Americans for Kids