What we are called
The people who live on the nuna (land) along the Arctic Ocean are called the Inuit.
Inuit means “people”.
Inuk = One person
Inuuk = two people
Inuit = three or more
That means when I’m by myself, I am an Inuk.
When I’m with my cousin Igalaaq (EE-GHAA-LAAQ) we are called Inuuk.
And when we get together with our friend Atuat (AT-WATT), we are called Inuit.
So when you say Inuit People you are saying “People, people”.
(Inuksugak for singular), known as Inuksuit, or Inukshuk, were used for helping Inuit remember where and how to get where they want to go. The Inuksuit even helped Inuit get to other communitive and while hunting.
Inuit have one language but have lots of dialects. That means sometimes the words sound a little bit different from each other. Some words can even mean something else, but we can still talk together, even with different dialects!
There are many different dialects:
- Inuvialuktun (Inuvialuit language in the Northwest Territories) They have 3 different dialects!
- Inuinnaqtun (Inuit in western Nunavut known as the Kitikmeot Region) This is what my cousin Igalaaq speaks.
- Inuktitut– there are 8 different dialects! This is what I grew up speaking!
In Canada, Inuit call our language “Inuktut” That means all the dialects of the Inuit language!
If you want to learn how to speak Inuktut, I left some links in the resources page for you to check out!
There are a lot of different ways to describe snow and weather conditions! Speaking of snow, did you know that some Inuit lived in houses made of snow blocks in the Wintertime?
An “Igloo/Iglu” is called an igluvigaq (ig-loo-vee-gak).
Inuit use the word iglu today for both, snow houses and modern houses.
Tools and Inventions
Snow is pretty bright when the sun is shining on it. It’s brighter than the water reflecting sunshine! Because of the bright snow, Inuit would carve iggak, (sun goggles) out of ivory and bone to protect their eyes. The sunglasses you wear today are inspired by Inuit iggaak!
Kayak’s were inspired from the qajaq, which is a small boat for one person to go hunting in. Inuit made them from bones, wood and sealskins sewn together in a watertight stitch.
Cultural Beliefs and Ways of Living
Some people think that rubbing noses is called an “eskimo kiss” but it’s not really how Inuit kiss.
Inuit show affection to their children or loved ones through a “kunik” which like inhaling the a person’s essence through their cheek.
Inuit traditional belief system centred around shamanism and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (Inuit values and belief system) prior to the introduction of Christianity.
Inuit believed that the northern lights, called aqsarniit, are the spirits of Inuit playing kickball, or arsaq, a favourite game played by Inuit in the Winter time.
I put together some more fun things to help you learn about Inuit! Just click on the buttons below and it will take you to some fun facts and even some colouring pages!