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The Native People of Canada
The Inuits of the Arctic
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    In the Arctic, under harsh cold and bare conditions, the Inuit people reside(d). To survive the -30 degrees C. the Inuit have adjusted their life in the way of clothing, shelter, etc.

     The native animals of the land and water are not just for food, but are used for clothing to keep. The caribou hide is the main material used, as the hollow hair traps air, which makes an excellent insulator. Layers of parkas (hood also lined with fur and covers most of face when drawn, so wearers breath helps to insulate), winter pants, and mittens helped keep the Inuit alive in the winter. Seal skin boots were used to produce "double boots." In the short summers, it is not as cold so the Inuit people removed the outer layer to adjust to this new climate.

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A parka not fully drawn to face

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Sealskin boots

     The most suitable shelter that is both dependable and convenient for the Inuit are igloos (iglus). They are fast and easy (can be made in under an hour if you and a another skilled person have long knives), made of a "natural resource" (snow), and are warm (snow is a good insulator). The snow itself is indeed a good insulator, but the Inuit bodies in it and an oil lamp (fueled by seal fat) help keep everyone in the iglu just that much warmer. In the summer time when there isn't much snow, or none at all, tents are used that were formed from animal hide.

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Igloo

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An oil lamp fueled by seal fat

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An animal skin tent

     The caribou move from one place to another on certain routes every year. The Inuit eat fish, walrus, seal, musk-ox, and even whales, but the caribou is most likely the most important. Before the inuit pass by, the inukshuks (rock statues resembling men to scare the caribou away) are lined up in 2 lines to direct the caribou to awaiting hunters. The hunters are hiding in pits where they will kill the caribou, or in kayaks, waiting to kill the caribou who have been led directly into a lake or river. From a successful hunt, the Inuit should be able to aquire enough meat to last the group of 50-100 people through the winter. The food is stored right out side of the iglu, as travel during the winter is near impossible.    

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A small portion fo a caribou herd

     The Inuit aquire many marquees as their culture and way of life is so different than other groups. Living in igloos is something that only the Inuit do, as well as they use and make for kayaks and umiaks. Beside those and many others, the most recognized marquee and symbol to the Inuit, is the inukshuk. Even today you can see it on Nunavut's provincial flag.

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An inukshuk

copyright 2004 Jessica Kalynn